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Edited by Keith Townsend and Adrian Wilkinson
4 The state and employment relations Jason Heyes and Ian Clark INTRODUCTION The state is commonly regarded as one of the three key actors in employment relations, yet when compared to the other two key actors, namely employers and trade unions, the state has occupied a peripheral position in the employment relations research literature. The relative neglect of the state may stem in part from a perception that its capacity to act has diminished as a result of globalization, the growing importance of multinational corporations and the emergence of new capitalist actors, such as hedge funds and private equity firms. However, the resurgence of state intervention in the economy and the labour market that has occurred since the onset of the current economic crisis has demonstrated the continuing importance of the state in shaping developments in the sphere of employment relations. The purpose of this chapter is to examine the various ways in which the state may influence work and employment relations. Researchers in the fields of employment relations, economics and social policy have evaluated policy interventions and associated outcomes in respect of collective and individual employment rights, employment policy and the social protections extended by welfare states. Less attention has been paid to the institutions of the state, how these are being reshaped, how they are managed, and processes of policy development. These issues have been addressed in the public administration and political science literature, and studies have explored, among other things, the introduction and impact of new methods...
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