Labour Markets in Transition
Edited by Ruud Muffels
Chapter 13: The Danish Road to ‘Flexicurity’ Where are we Compared to Others? And How did we Get There?
13. The Danish Road to ‘Flexicurity’: Where are we Compared to Others? And How Did We Get There? Per Kongshøj Madsen 13.1 INTRODUCTION The successful development of the Danish economy and labour market in recent years has stimulated ideas about the existence of a particular Danish model of the employment system characterised by: • A flexible labour market with a high level of external numerical flexibility indicated by high levels of worker flows in and out of employment and unemployment; the high degree of numerical flexibility is made possible by a low level of employment protection, allowing employers to freely adapt the workforce to changing economic conditions. A generous system of economic support for the unemployed. Active labour market policies aimed at upgrading the skills of those unemployed that are unable to return directly from unemployment to a new job. • • Originally these special traits were pointed at in a report of the Danish Ministry of Employment (Arbejdsministeriet, 1999). They have later been the subject of a number of academic articles and papers and also emphasised by the OECD (2004).1 Furthermore, the analysis of the ‘Danish model’ has been linked to the growing international literature on ‘flexicurity’, where the Danish approach is seen as a variant that fits into this broader concept (see Wilthagen and Tros, 2004). In this perspective, the flexibility–security nexus found in Denmark is a combination of a high numerical flexibility and a correspondingly high level of income security for the unemployed in the form of...
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