Seminar Robert Kuttner - Tue 10 May

Labour Market Regulation and the Global Economic Crisis – the Case of the United States

Chair: Jonathan Zeitlin (UvA)
Discussant: Wiemer Salverda (AIAS), the European perspective

Date Tuesday 10 May 2011
Time 15.30 – 17.00 hrs (drinks afterwards till 17.30 hrs)
Location University of Amsterdam
Amsterdam Business School/AIAS building
Plantage Muidergracht 12
1018 TV Amsterdam
The Netherlands
Room: 1.03
Registration Click here to register
Participation is free but we urge you to register before 1 May 2011
Information Wiemer Salverda
+31 20 525 4123

There will be ample room for discussion with the audience.
The meeting will be concluded with drinks.


The current economic crisis has increased rates of unemployment and exacerbated a long-term weakening of institutions of employment security, labor regulation and collective bargaining. This trend has different particulars in different nations, but it has common general characteristics.
A review of these labor market trends suggests that the shift away from more regulated labor markets is not the necessary consequence of changes in the structure or content of the economy but rather reflects shifts in relative political power. The state has lost regulatory capacity and trade unions have lost influence, while private market actors have gained leverage over workers and over the rules of the system. There is no inherent reason why the current stage of capitalism requires a loosening of labor regulation, and the several ingenious variations on flexicurity demonstrate that it is possible to combine employment security that is guaranteed socially with flexibility and continuous upgrading of the skills of the workforce. Conversely, during a period of increased globalization and high unemployment, more orthodox systems of wage regulation do run the risk of contributing both to labor-market rigidities and political fragmentation, as well as increasing inequality. In these circumstances, labor market protections that promote both equality and efficiency remain possible, but have become far more difficult to achieve politically.

The speakers

Robert Kuttner

is a co-founder of the American Prospect in 1990 and has been a co-editor since. He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at DEMOS, a research and policy center founded in 2000 which aims to play a non-partisan role in policy change and reform work to revitalize American democracy, and a co-founder of the Washington-based Economic Policy Institute in 1986.
His writings include The Economic Illusion: False Choices between Prosperity and Social Justice (1984), Everything for Sale: The Virtues and Limits of Markets, The Squandering of America: How the Failure of Our Politics Undermines Our Prosperity (2007), Obama’s Challenge: America’s Economic Crisis and the Power of a Transformative Presidency (2008) and A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama’s Promise, Wall Street’s Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future (2010).
During his month-long stay at AIAS he will work on a comparative study of active labour market policies in different countries.

Jonathan Zeitlin

is professor of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Amsterdam, formerly at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He wrote Governing Work and Welfare in a New Economy: European and American Experiments (2003) and contributed extensively on the EU’s open method of coordination.

Wiemer Salverda

is Director of AIAS, coordinator of the international (7th Framework programme) research project Growing Inequalities’ Impacts GINI (2010-2013) and of the former Low-wage Employment Research Network LoWER (1996-2008), and lead editor of The Oxford Handbook of Economic Inequality.

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