Edited by Ramón Gómez-Salvador, Ana Lamo, Barbara Petrongolo, Melanie Ward and Etienne Wasmer
Recent developments in part-time work in EU countries 309 DISCUSSION Rob W. Euwals The international policy debate on part-time employment changed considerably in the last few decades. Before the 1990s many economic observers highlighted the underutilization of labour and discussed the incidence of involuntary part-time employment. On the other hand, already at the beginning of the 1980s the OECD (1983) concluded that most parttime employment is voluntary. Moreover, authors like Hart (1987) and Hamermesh (1993) consider part-time employment as an outcome that can be in the interest of both ﬁrms and workers. In recent years, economic observers started to open up their minds to part-time employment as a potential advantage rather than a trap for workers. Bollé (1997) concludes that, if it is chosen freely and protected by law, part-time employment oﬀers a good way of striking a balance between time to earn a living and time to devote to other activities. The OECD (2001) discusses part-time employment as a way of helping parents into paid employment and to balance work and family life. The literature on social policies and employment distinguishes two models for combining paid employment and private care responsibilities. Social democratic countries like Sweden, Norway and France rely on government intervention, while liberal countries like the USA, Canada and Australia leave the opportunity for combining work and family life to the market. Both models are successful, as female employment rates are high and fertility rates are reasonably high in these countries. Part-time employment may be interpreted...
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