Numéro AB/33 (Économies et Sociétés 8/2011) – Crisis and Social Models

Special issue – Crisis and Social Models

Contents and Abstracts

FREYSSINET J., Responses of the systems of industrial relations to the economic crisis: The example of six western European economies,  p. 1227.

The economic crisis offers an experience to compare responses of systems of industrial relations in Western Europe according to national specificities of the modes of production of the rules of the employment relationship. Three typical situations are distinguished. They enable to invalidate the hypothesis of a strict path dependency and prove the absence of a one best way response to the crisis. The persistence of the crisis creates an opportunity to implement changes in the rules of the employment relationship which were included for a long time in the social agenda. 

LEFRESNE F., SAUVIAT C., Social models in the USA and in four European countries facing the crisis, p. 1265.

A comparison of the impact of the crisis on the trajectories of social models in the United States and in four European countries –Denmark, Germany, France, Spain– leads us to a twofold diagnosis. First, significant changes, even breaking points, occurred within each national trajectory, under the pressure of norms of flexibility and the containment of public expenditure. A high degree of heterogeneity persists because of the way these norms are implementing and are supported by specific social compromises. Furthermore, the crisis revealed the absence of a “European social model”, clearly differing itself from the US social model.  

BELKACEM R., KORNIG C., The social construction of temporary work: from its emergence in the USA to its institutionalization in France, p. 1301.

The aim of this paper is the study of the historical development of temporary work. Temporary workers agencies (TWA) appear first at the beginning of the last century in the United States and in the United Kingdom. From the years 1940 on, their fast development carried by large companies of temporary work would be based first of all on the secretarial work needs. Introduced in France during the 1950s, its institutionalization (economic, social, and political recognition as a useful activity for the community) has been progressive. 

FRANÇON B., GUERGOAT-LARIVIÈRE M., Poverty policies in the economic crisis: changes and continuity, p. 1329.

This paper proposes an analysis of poverty development in Europe during the recent economic crisis considering policies that have been implemented to fight it. We focus on five countries namely France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK, each of them standing for a social protection model. The rising unemployment that comes along with the economic downturn increases the risk of poverty and challenges European models’ capacity to contain that risk. The joint analysis of pre-crisis situation and of measures implemented in immediate response to the crisis shows that social protection systems that were already at work before the crisis and their relative levels of generosity remain essential in the fight against poverty. Besides, the recent implementation of employment policies centred on “activation” – in spite of that they do not rely on the same principles in all countries – may have had perverse effects on poverty in the context of economic crisis because of their cost-containment goal.

ERHEL C., Labour market policy in Europe: what reactions facing the economic crisis ?, p. 1359.

Before the crisis, labour market policies have undergone several years of reforms, focused on activation, work incentives, and flexicurity. Most European countries share the same trends, partly supported by the European Employment Strategy since 1997, even though important differences between national models remain. The economic downturn in 2007 has led to a very spectacular rise in unemployment in some countries, especially concentrated among low educated and young men. Facing this new context, the reactions of labour market policies seem ambiguous. On the one hand, institutional reforms and in work incentives still follow previous reform trends, especially the activation framework. On the other hand, a large number of countries also develop internal flexibility devices (including partial unemployment), and reinforce unemployment insurance or minimum income policies. These types of policies may have contributed to temper the direct impact of the crisis on labour market trends (especially in continental countries). They also lead to the reintroduction of some old debates (on working time sharing, on the minimum wage), especially in the new member states. Nevertheless, it seems that the turn towards restrictive budgetary policy in the first half of 2010 is compromising these trends, and even endangering last decade’s virtuous models, especially the Danish model.

Book Review

P. DURAN , Les nouvelles dimensions du politique, Relations professionnelles et régulations sociales, L. Duclos, G. Groux et O. Mériaux (dir.), coll. « Droit et Société,Recherches et Travaux, 19 », Paris, L.G.D.J, p. 1389.

Y. CHASSARD, L’emploi en ruptures, B. Gomel, D. Méda et E. Serverin (dir.), coédition de Dalloz, Presses universitaires de Paris Ouest et CEE, p. 1397.

B. REYNÈS, L’entreprise en restructuration, Dynamiques institutionnelles et mobilisations collectives, C. Didry et A. Jobert (dir.), coll. « Économie et Société », Presses universitaires de Rennes, p. 1403.

O. JOIN-LAMBERT, Négocier l’emploi. 50 ans de négociations interprofessionnelles sur l’emploi et la formation, J. Freyssinet, Paris, Éditions Liaisons, p. 1411.

R. BELKACEM, Les agences de la précarité. Journaliers à Chicago, S. Chauvin, Le Seuil, p. 1415.

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