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Author: Social Europe Journal

“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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“The Inflation Target Trap” by Daniel Gros

Daniel Gros Central banks have a problem: growth in much of the world is accelerating, but inflation has failed to take off. Of course, for most people, growth without inflation is the ideal combination. But central banks have set the goal of achieving an inflation rate of “below, but close to 2%,” as the European Central Bank puts it. And, at this point, it is hard to see how that can be achieved. Central banks never pretended that they could steer inflation directly. But they thought that by providing rock-bottom interest rates and generous liquidity conditions in the wake...

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“Employment Shifts In Europe During The Recovery: Three Little Noticed Trends” by John Hurley

John Hurley The EU has finally recovered all the net employment losses sustained since the global financial crisis. It has been a long and painful process. But there is at last growing evidence of positive momentum in EU labour markets, if not quite ‘animal spirits’. Many of those member states most affected by the global downturn have recorded significant employment growth in the last three years – including Spain (+9%), Ireland (+8%) and Greece (+5%). While overall employment numbers are back to where they were, and continuing to increase, the structure of employment in the EU has changed in...

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“How Do European Welfare States Perform?” by Maria Alessandra Antonelli and Valeria De Bonis

Maria Alessandra Antonelli The European Union is characterized by different national social polices (although they are less clearly demarcated than in the past). The Nordic countries present high levels of social expenditure (around 30% of GDP in Denmark, Finland and Sweden), while the continental ones (Austria, Belgium, France, Germany and Luxembourg) have an intermediate level of expenditure (on average 27% of GDP in 2016) and the Mediterranean countries (Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal), allocate – on average- a quarter of GDP to social policies (2016). Finally, Anglo-Saxon (Ireland and the United Kingdom) and Eastern countries devote, on average, just...

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