Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe
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Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Labour Markets in Transition

Edited by Ruud Muffels

This book seeks to gain a better understanding of the paradoxical relationship between the alleged need of European labour markets to become more flexible and the way in which national policies pursue this aim without jeopardising existing high standards of income and employment security. Special interest is devoted to the way in which countries opt for different policy routes to cope with the aim of balancing flexibility and security goals in their respective labour market and social protection policies. The contributions in this book all try to unveil the particular changes or transitions occurring in the various labour markets, to learn about their medium and longer term effects and the role of institutions and policies to cushion the adverse consequences of these changes. By studying some ‘best practices’ in Denmark, Canada and Australia they also draw some important lessons about the reasons why national policies might either fail or better cope with the challenges Europe face today.
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Chapter 8: Self-employment Dynamics and ‘Transitional Labour Markets’: Some More UK Evidence

Nigel Meager


Nigel Meager 8.1 INTRODUCTION This chapter looks at the potential contribution of self-employment to the dynamics of modern, transitional labour markets (TLM), building on previous work by the author (Meager and Bates, 2002). The question we are concerned with is whether self-employment transitions have a positive or negative effect on labour market dynamics. On the positive side, do they: help to keep people attached to the labour market that might otherwise fall out; offer entry routes to people who might otherwise not get into the labour market or improve the career trajectories of people who might otherwise end up in social exclusion or low wage traps? Or, on the negative side, are they associated with worse outcomes than other kinds of transitions, with low wages, social exclusion and so on? The chapter reviews and adds to the evidence on these issues for the case of the UK. The UK is of some interest because of its unusual trajectory of self-employment in the last two decades. Additionally, it presents an interesting example of an economy which is, on the one hand, relatively favourable to self-employment entry (because of its liberal regulatory regime, a deregulated capital market, the unusual structure of its housing market and so on); and on the other hand an economy in which the institutional infrastructure to mitigate negative effects of the wider extension of selfemployment (for example, through appropriate pension and social security arrangements, training and education regimes) is relatively under-developed. The chapter starts with an account of...

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