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The Labour Market Triangle

Employment Protection, Unemployment Compensation and Activation in Europe

  • Globalization and Welfare series

Edited by Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils

Currently, European governments are being challenged to find an optimal social policy strategy that fosters 'flexicurity’, whereby a flexible, well-functioning labour market is achieved, whilst protection for workers is maintained. This fascinating book presents an in-depth study of the particular combination of unemployment insurance, employment protection and active labour market policies prevalent in seven European countries. The editors explore the formal laws and regulations, as well as the administration and implementation of social policy, paying special attention to the role of the social partners. The country comparison shows that the combination of social policy instruments is important to labour market performance, but that multiple optimal mixes already seem to exist.
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Chapter 9: Conclusion: Is There a Golden Triangle?

Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils

Extract

Paul de Beer and Trudie Schils In the preceding chapters the particular combination of unemployment insurance, employment protection and active labour market policies in seven European countries was examined. In this final chapter we summarize the main results and draw some overall conclusions from this overview. In the introductory chapter we noted that the empirical literature on the effectiveness of these policy instruments is at best mixed, but in general not very positive. In addition, we showed that a statistical analysis of the labour market performance of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries based on global indicators of these three policy fields only gives limited insight into the effectiveness of the policy instruments. As we explained, this is probably due to the fact that it is much more the actual implementation and administration of these policies that matters, than some formal characteristics or the budget spent on these policies. Consequently, the main part of this volume comprises an extensive discussion of unemployment insurance, employment protection and active labour market policies in seven European countries, namely Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In each of the chapters the actual policies in the three areas are described, along with the main reforms since the 1990s and the coherence between the three policy areas. From these chapters it has become clear that, despite some similarities, the policies of these countries differ widely. However, since the number of characteristics in which the countries differ exceeds the number...

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