Volume 149 (2010), Number 1
Differences in the job satisfaction of high-paid and low-paid workers across Europe
Konstantinos POULIAKAS and Ioannis THEODOSSIOU
Data from six waves of the European Community Household Panel (1996–2001) in
11 countries suggest that low-paid employees are significantly less satisfied with
their job than the high-paid in southern Europe, but not in the northern countries.
Proxying job satisfaction for job quality, the authors show that while low-paid
employment does not necessarily mean low-quality employment, workers in some
countries suffer the double penalty of low pay and low job quality. Such dualism
across European labour markets, they argue, reflects different country-level
approaches to the trade-off between flexibility and security, calling for a policy focus
on the latter to enhance job quality
KEYWORDS: JOB SATISFACTION, WAGES, LOW WAGES, AUSTRIA, BELGIUM, DENMARK,
FINLAND, GREECE, IRELAND, ITALY, PORTUGAL, SPAIN, UNITED KINGDOM.
Is Asia adopting flexicurity?
In the face of global competition, many countries are adopting a flexicurity approach
to labour regulation, providing employers with greater flexibility to hire and
retrench workers while helping workers transition to new jobs. This review of six
Asian countries finds that China and the Republic of Korea have enacted such
reforms; Singapore and Malaysia provide some ingredients of flexicurity, though no
unemployment insurance; India and Sri Lanka have introduced few reforms and
continue to rely on an older model of employer-based security. To support informal
workers, the Governments of China, India and Sri Lanka use public works, selfemployment
programmes and skills training.
KEYWORDS: LABOUR FLEXIBILITY, EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, EMPLOYMENT POLICY, CHINA,
REPUBLIC OF KOREA, INDIA, MALAYSIA, SINGAPORE, SRI LANKA.
The consequences of job insecurity for employees: The moderator role
of job dependence
Beatriz SORA, Amparo CABALLER and José María PEIRÓ
With globalization and increased international competition have come more flexible
forms of employment and increased job insecurity. The authors address the impact
of perceived job insecurity on employees’ work attitudes and intentions. After
reviewing relevant research on stress theory and the relationship between job insecurity
and its consequences, they test two hypotheses on 942 employees in Spain,
namely: first, that job insecurity relates negatively to job satisfaction and organizational
commitment and positively to intention to leave; and, second, that job insecurity,
economic need and employability interact in the prediction of these outcomes.
KEYWORDS: JOB INSECURITY, EMPLOYABILITY, JOB SATISFACTION, WORK ATTITUDE, SPAIN.
The cost of "doing business" and labour regulation: The case of South Africa
Paul BENJAMIN, Haroon BHORAT and Halton CHEADLE
The "Employing Workers" indices compiled from the World Banks Doing Business (DB) survey for 2006 presented mixed results as to the nature and extent of labour regulation in South Africa. Arguing that these measures - with their narrow focus on legislation - provide only a partial picture, the authors suggest and investigate three possible extensions to the DB framework with the aim of achieving a more realistic representation of labour regulation in practice, namely: "micro-legislation", labour market institutions and judicial interpretation. They conclude with a plea for taking account of the crucial importance of these features in the assessment of labour regulation frameworks
KEYWORDS: LABOUR LAW, EMPLOYMENT SECURITY, RECRUITMENT, DISMISSAL, ECONOMIC IMPLICATION, REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA.
Notes and debates
The Indian informal sector: The impact of globalization and reform, by Eckhard SIGGEL
Globalization and economic reforms typically affect the formal sector, the informal
sector existing outside regulation. Yet, numerous links between them mean the
informal sector is variously affected. Traditionally, the model used to explain the
impact of these forces was labour market segmentation and migration: workers laid
off in the formal sector increase informal labour supply, leading to wage decline and
increased poverty. The author examines whether this pattern applies in India following
economic reforms in the 1990s, and finds a more appropriate model, driven by
expansion both in labour supply and in demand, through outsourcing, skill transfers
and new enterprises.
KEYWORDS: INFORMAL ECONOMY, INFORMAL EMPLOYMENT, ECONOMIC REFORM, INDIA.
Post-employment covenants in the United States: Legal framework and market behaviours, by Richard L. HANNAH
In response to fundamental market changes that are giving labour a much more central role in product market competition, employers often seek to extend their control over human capital beyond termination of the employment relationship. Although empirical studies are scarce, the use of restrictive post-employment covenants is indeed believed to be widespread. But to what extent can employers lawfully restrict the freedom of their former employees? The author examines the criteria that courts in the United States have considered in balancing employers' legitimate economic interests against labour market efficiency and workers' post-employment freedom and mobility.
KEYWORDS: CONFIDENTIALITY, CONTRACT, EMPLOYEE, WORKERS’ RIGHTS, LABOUR
LEGISLATION, COMMENT, JUDICIAL DECISION, UNITED STATES.
Hungary's experiment in legalizing casual employment, by Róbert TÉSITS and Endre SZENORADSZKI
Hungary’s 1997 Casual Employment Act was originally meant to formalize ad hoc
employment relationships entered into by private individual employers through
simplified administrative procedures. After being widely abused, however, this flexible
regulatory framework was eventually opened up to all employers, with a higher
ceiling on the number of days workable on this basis, drastically reduced social
security contributions and strong tax incentives. The aim was then to reduce unemployment
and the incidence of illegal work by stretching the boundaries of formal
employment, but neither of these objectives was attained. Instead, the authors
argue, the attempted flexicurity has greatly increased workers’ vulnerability.
KEYWORDS: PRECARIOUS EMPLOYMENT, CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT, CASUAL WORKER,
LABOUR LEGISLATION, COMMENT, HUNGARY.
Questions sociales: Analyses anglo-saxonnes. Socialement incorrect?, by Julien DAMON. Reviewed by Dominique MÉDA
Industrial policy and development: The political economy of capabilities accumulation, edited by Mario CIMOLI, Giovanni DOSI and Joseph E. STIGLITZ. Reviewed by José M. SALAZAR-XIRINACHS and Irmgard NÜBLER
Sticking together or falling apart? Solidarity in an era of individualization and globalization, by Paul DE BEER and Ferry KOSTER. Reframing social citizenship, by Peter TAYLOR-GOOBY. Work after globalization: Building occupational citizenship, by Guy STANDING. Reviewed by Hedva SARFATI
From ILO standards to EU law: The case of equality between men and women at work, by Eve C. LANDAU and Yves BEIGBEDER. Reviewed by Jane HODGES.