Most analysts suspect that years of austerity pressures have had a profound impact on labour market and social policies as governments grapple with shrinking budgets and ‘new social risks’. But until now there have been few systematic attempts to map these shifts across European countries. A new book just published by Sotiria Theodoropoulou, Head of Unit II, European economic, employment and social policies at the ETUI, tries to accomplish this through a comparative analysis of new approaches to labour market policy under the pressures of ‘permanent austerity’.
This edited volume, ‘Labour market policies in the era of pervasive austerity’, published by Policy Press, brings together a range of case studies by leading experts to examine patterns of convergence and divergence in European labour market policies. It tries to capture the complexity of responses to economic, fiscal and demographic shocks by analysing a range of factors determining policy choices and outcomes, including the strategies of some governments to protect labour market ‘insiders’ at the expense of more marginalized groups.
The book maps and compares developments in labour market policies across the EU over two periods – the 1990s and post-2010. The country cases span the whole of the EU and are organised according to the theoretical perspectives of their ‘variety’, labour market and ‘world of welfare’ capitalisms.
Three central questions are addressed throughout the book:
First, whether retrenchment or expansion has taken place in unemployment benefits (insurance and assistance), employment protection legislation and activation policies and how it has been distributed across these different domains and instruments. Second, how expansion and retrenchment have affected different workers, most notably those who were better protected and those less well protected. And third, whether the logic of activation policies has shifted and if so how, between policies that enable the unemployed to find good jobs and those that merely enforce incentives to actively seek and accept jobs.
Sotiria Theodoroupolou, Head of Unit II "European economic, employment and social policies", ETUI
Patrik Vesan, Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Aosta Valley and
Fiona Dukelow, Lecturer in Social Policy, School of Applied Social Studies, University College, Cork
Discussant: Ben Egan, ETUC Advisor
Chair: Philippe Pochet, General Director, ETUI
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A light lunch will be served in the room from 12h.