AIAS Annual Conference 26 September 2012 'Never waste a good crisis!'

Flyer Never waste a good crisis!
Structural labour market reform in times of austerity

Felix Meritis, Keizersgracht 324,1016 EZ Amsterdam

Click here for the programme

An economic downturn tends to hurt groups with a relatively weak labour market position the most: low skilled, youth, immigrants, women, disabled people. In order to improve the functioning of labour markets, and to enhance the opportunities of these vulnerable groups, many experts plead for structural reforms of our labour market and social protection institutions. An economic crisis can act as window of opportunity to introduce such structural reforms, since the urgency of these reforms is more visible than ever. However, most governments seem reluctant to implement reforms. An important reason for this is probably that many governments face large budget deficits which are most easily closed by austerity measures that can be effectuated in the short term, such as general cuts of government staff or social benefits. Structural reforms usually take more time and do not result in substantial reductions of expenditures before long. Moreover, structural reforms may meet with fierce resistance of the people who are affected by the adverse consequences of these reforms, while the people who will profit from them may not even be aware of that.

At this conference we will address three questions related to structural reforms in times of austerity:

  1. Which structural reforms are needed to improve the functioning of labour markets and social protections systems, with a focus on vulnerable groups at the lower end of the labour market?
  2. What are the main obstacles to implement the desired reforms in a period of economic crisis?
  3. How can these obstacles be overcome?


Three renowned scholars from Europe and the USA, Peter Edelmann, Giuliano Bonoli and Stefano Scarpetta, with a background in sociology, economics and law, respectively, will give their view on these three questions. Next, three Dutch experts from the University of Amsterdam, Evert Verhulp, Evelien Tonkens and Sweder van Wijnbergen, will critically interview each of the guest speakers and will discuss to what extent the analysis is also relevant for the Netherlands.
The conference will be concluded by a debate between representatives of political parties on the need of structural reform.
Click here for more information about the speakers


Participation is free, but we urge you to register no later than 20 September 2012.
Click here for the registration form


Click here for the Flyer Never waste a good crisis!
Structural labour market reform in times of austerity

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