In recent years, and to varying degrees, there has been a marked trend towards decentralisation of labour market regulation in many European countries. The authors of this book seek to assess the impact of social partnership and social protection on the macroeconomic performance of nine member states of the European Union - namely Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and the UK. They compare the performance outcomes of these countries with the USA over the last twenty years and find that, in broad terms, the countries that perform `best' are those that have adapted and decentralised their systems of social partnership and protection.
The authors also analyse the changing nature of social partnership and protection within the European Union (EU). They examine recent developments in EU social policy, particularly its shift towards employment promotion through the national action plans on employment that each member state is now required to introduce. These reinforce social partnership but also impose new challenges for governments, employers and unions to meet. Central amongst these challenges is the need to ensure that social partnership is as inclusive as possible. The authors conclude that the EU requires more social partnership if ever closer union, including monetary union, is to succeed and that employment promotion programmes must be pursued by the EU as a whole.
Bernard Casey, University of Warwick, UK and Michael Gold, Senior Lecturer in European Business and Employee Relations, Royal Holloway College, University of London, UK
Contents: Introduction 1. Social Partnership, Social Protection and Economic Performance 2. Trends and Developments in Nine Countries 3. Economic Performance in the Nine Countries 4. Matters Arising Bibliography Index