Labour Participation and Unemployment
The present volume investigates the institutional structure of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany as this affects the labour market situation. Among the countries of Europe, these two nations are undergoing particularly dynamic developments. Following changes in the balance of power in Parliament, a new government has taken office in the Netherlands. In Germany radical reforms of the labour market have been discussed and a start made on them. For these reasons it is worth looking closely at the institutional framework of the labour market and the economy in general in both countries. The Netherlands and the Federal Republic also lend themselves particularly well to comparison for other reasons: they are not just neighbours but many of their regulations have much in common. At the same time there are important characteristic differences,in which respect the question arises as to whether these are able to explain the major discrepancies that have characterised the development of the labour market in recent years. Can the fact that the Netherlands has achieved virtually full employment in recent years while unemployment once again exceeded the four million mark in the Federal Republic in the summer 2002 be explained in terms of the structure of the central institutions of the economy? This is the key analytical issue addressed by this volume.
Uwe Blien and Frank den Butter (eds.)

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