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Changing Social EqualityThe Nordic Welfare Model in the 21st Century$
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Jon Kvist, Johan Fritzell, Bjorn Hvinden, and Olli Kangas

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781847426604

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781847426604.001.0001

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Welfare state institutions, unemployment and poverty: comparative analysis of unemployment benefits and labour market participation in 15 European Union countries

Welfare state institutions, unemployment and poverty: comparative analysis of unemployment benefits and labour market participation in 15 European Union countries

Chapter:
(p.119) Six Welfare state institutions, unemployment and poverty: comparative analysis of unemployment benefits and labour market participation in 15 European Union countries
Source:
Changing Social Equality
Author(s):

M. Azhar Hussain

Olli Kangas

Jon Kvist

Publisher:
Policy Press
DOI:10.1332/policypress/9781847426604.003.0006

The chapter examines the interaction between the labour market, employment and social security in different welfare state regimes. It looks at the extent to which we can find regime-based differences in labour markets, in the generosity of unemployment insurance or in the economic consequences of being employed, becoming unemployed for a shorter or longer period and becoming employed again. Longitudinal data are derived from the ECHP and EU/SILC for the mid-1990s to the late 2000s. Results indicate that welfare regimes may lose their distinctiveness in two ways: first, the countries in a regime abandon the ideal model; second, the countries maintain the model but the other countries catch up eroding the differences. Three dimensions characteristic of the Nordic model were inspected: Firstly a high level of employment displayed the second type of convergence. While the Nordic countries are maintaining their high employment levels, other countries are catching up. Secondly, high income protection where there is a trend of growing similarity — replacements have deteriorated in the Nordic countries (and in Central Europe) while they have improved in Liberal and in the Southern Europe. Finally, a low incidence of poverty in labour market transitions does not show changes in regime-based differences. Although the Nordic poverty rates are increasing, so are those in the other regimes. Despite some signs of a piecemeal convergence, a high degree of welfare state ‘regime integrity’ remains.

Keywords:   labour market dynamics, poverty dynamics, unemployment, unemployment insurance, welfare regime

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