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Author: Social Europe Journal

“More Attention Must Be Given To Europe’s Working Poor” by Daphne Ahrendt

Daphne Arendt In-work poverty increased during the economic and financial crisis that hit European shores in 2008. By 2014, ten per cent of European workers were at risk of poverty, up from eight per cent in 2007. Ten per cent is a significant figure: the working poor represent a substantial group that can’t be ignored. Just as disconcerting is the finding that 13 per cent of European workers are materially deprived. This latter measure helps to capture the impact of the crisis on people’s real living conditions. A new study by Eurofound looks at what it means to be...

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“Giving Juncker’s Proposed European Labour Authority Real Clout” by Zane Rasnača and Romuald Jagodziński

Zane Rasnača Every year the State of the Union speech (SOTEU) serves a certain purpose. This year it was all about encouragement and promise. It was all about promising ‘big things’ – more Schengen, better enforcement of the rule of law, fighting discrimination of consumers in Central and Eastern Europe, introducing an economy and finance minister for the Eurozone, establishing a common European Labour Authority (ELA) and so on. Some topics got more attention, some less. For example, the idea of a common economy and finance minister and combining two EU Presidencies into one received probably the most coverage....

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“Marrying Labour Flexibility And Protection” by Valeria Pulignano, Nadja Doerflinger and Dorien Frans

Valeria Pulignano The distinction between those in permanent, full-time jobs and those in temporary and flexible employment is one of the major divides in contemporary labour markets. This distinction is often justified by the need for flexibility. But who needs flexibility and why? A prominent interpretation is that flexibility is demanded by capital. As capital underwent fundamental changes on the way towards a post-industrial society, it had to reorganize. Globalization led to the opening up and creation of (new) markets, with financial capital gaining in importance compared to industrial capital. These changes generated a fertile soil for developments like...

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“Macron’s Labour Gambit” by Dani Rodrik

Dani Rodrik At the end of August, French president Emmanuel Macron unveiled the labour-market overhaul that will make or break his presidency – and may well determine the future of the eurozone. His goal is to bring down France’s stubbornly high rate of unemployment, just a shade below 10%, and energize an economy that badly needs a kick-start. Labour reform has long been on France’s agenda. Practically every French administration in recent memory has tried to rewrite the country’s gargantuan labour code, typically failing in the face of trade union protests. Macron makes no bones about what he is...

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“Do Structural Reforms Of Labour Markets Impair Innovation?” by Alfred Kleinknecht

Alfred Kleinknecht Christoph Stein: You conclude from your research that supply-side labour market reforms have impaired innovation and labour productivity growth in major OECD countries. Why should labour market institutions influence innovation and productivity? There are a number of arguments from neighbouring disciplines, such as organizational psychology, that labour market institutions matter when it comes to processes of technological learning and knowledge accumulation. Unfortunately, neoclassical economists have a great talent for ignoring such interdisci­plinary insights. And Keynesians don’t perform much better in this respect. In lots of industries, a business’s technological competencies are not only determined by its contemporary...

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“Who Wants to Deregulate Finance?” by Howard Davies

Howard Davies Since a revolving door was installed at the entrance to the West Wing of the White House, it has been difficult to keep track of the comings and goings in America’s corridors of power. Anything written about the Trump administration’s personnel and policies may be invalid before it is published. At least for the time being, however, the key economic-policy actors remain in place. Steve Mnuchin is still Treasury Secretary and has not been mentioned in dispatches during the latest power struggles. Gary Cohn continues to chair the National Economic Council, though he is reported to be...

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“The Future Of Work And The Social Welfare State’s Survival” by Steven Hill

Steven Hill Europe, like the United States, has seen dramatic changes in how people work. Compared to 15 years ago, many more people have part-time, temp or mini-jobs, or are self-employed. While the number of full-time jobs has increased recently as the unemployment rate has slowly declined, far more of Europe‘s employment growth has come from part-time and temp jobs. Even Germany, whose economy has fared better than most in recent years, has seen employment growth driven by part-time jobs, which have doubled since 2000 and now comprise about 27% of all jobs. These shifts provide a hint about the ‘future of...

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“Brexit Can Be Stopped – But The Window Of Opportunity Is Closing Fast” by Steve Bullock

Steve Bullock Like many staunch Remainers, I’ve often found myself supporting calls for a referendum, or, at the very least, a vote in Parliament on the final Brexit deal. It is an appealing thought. It gives hope that Brexit can be stopped at the last moment, between a deal being agreed and the UK’s exit from the EU. It also gives a nice clear defence to the ‘will of the people’ argument: democracy does not just happen on one day, the democratic will of the people evolves as new information comes to light, and a second enquiry as to...

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