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Index of Volumes

VOLUME 139, NUMBER 4 2000/4



The resilience of the long-term employment relationship: Evidence from the industrialized countries

Peter AUER and Sandrine CAZES

The authors challenge the popular idea that the long-term employment relationship is a thing of the past. Focusing on trends in employment tenure, they also investigate the effects of age, the business cycle, temporary employment and other factors relevant to job stability and job security. Although perceived job insecurity has been rising, the labour markets of most industrialized countries show little sign of becoming generally unstable. Country differences in patterns of job stability and instability over time also prove to be stable. This, the authors argue, should refocus the research and policy agendas on optimizing combinations of stability and flexibility.

Inverted "S" -- The complete neoclassical labour-supply function

Mohammed SHARIF

Reviewing the literature on the labour supply of the working poor, Sharif argues that the negatively sloping supply function widely observed at very low wages reflects distress sales of labour, not a "perverse mentality" as many theorists have assumed. The theory supported here uses the traditional neoclassical constrained utility maximization framework to derive a supply function with both positively and negatively sloping segments -- respectively upwards and downwards from a subsistence-wage level below which survival requires increased labour supply. Addition of the standard backward-bending segment at very high wages gives a complete picture of the neoclassical supply function: an inverted "S".

Labour mobility within the European Union: Findings, stakes and prospects


The free movement of labour is a founding principle of the European Union. However, little labour mobility occurs because the regulations concerned are complex and difficult to apply, and because needs and demands change. The author first presents the responses contained in Community policies -- on regional policy, an "area of freedom, security and justice", social protection, labour standards -- before making his own suggestions to help achieve a truly European labour market. He argues in favour of the establishment of action programmes to promote labour mobility, increase its attraction and security, and consolidate anti-discrimination policies.

The design of active labour market policies: Building in effective incentives


Unemployment insurance schemes are often blamed for contributing to the creation of a culture of dependency, hence to unemployment persistence. The author reviews four types of explanation for unemployment persistence and the implications for designing effective labour market policies, notably the need to avoid perverse incentives. He then examines two programmes in Belgium: a work experience programme for welfare recipients, the poor design of which could provide perverse incentives to its administrators; and a vocational training programme for the unemployed which, though lacking in specific performance-related incentives for administrators, nevertheless provided effective training for its participants.


Gender, women and all the rest (Part I)

As a backdrop to current developments in the debate and research on gender and equality (examined in Part II), Part I of this perspective reviews some of the conceptual shifts and issues that have shaped the thinking so far. In particular, it traces the development of the concept of gender in feminist scholarship. Indeed, the equality agenda is now replete with references to "gender" and related concepts, especially since the policy shift from "women in development" to "gender and development". But the upshot suggests the new catchwords have proved easier to utter than to operationalize in the pursuit of greater social justice.

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ISSN 1564-913X

Updated by MCN. Approved by IA . Last update: 27 August 2001.