Eppur si muove: labour market protection varieties and trajectories of change across 21 high-income countries and three decades
LIEPP Working Paper
Paris : Laboratoire interdisciplinaire d'évaluation des politiques publiques
LIEPP Working Paper : 119
labour market protection, trajectories of change , high-income countries
We compare labour market protection varieties and evaluate systematically trajectories of change across 21 high-income countries over three decades. Our measures – Principal Component Analysis and a new multidimensional indicator – deal with the average production worker assumption and allow us to assess countries’ trajectories of change in relation to, and independently from, classic varieties. We find that in 1990 labour market protection varieties retrace mostly Esping-Andersen’s worlds of welfare, and in 2015 the distinction between social democratic and Christian democratic regimes vanishes, while Mediterranean and liberal countries are grouped respectively more tightly. Moreover, despite the persistent difference between Coordinated (CMEs) and Liberal Market Economies (LMEs) in their labour market protection levels, a large majority of CMEs became more similar to LMEs, after their pursuit of liberalization and dualization trajectories. At the opposite, a handful of CMEs experienced an increase in labour market protection following flexicurity, de-dualization and higher protection trajectories. To help conceptualise the space where countries move, worlds of welfare, varieties of capitalism and the ideal typical trajectories developed in the literature are used to interpret labour market liberalization patterns; however, the trajectories we identify do not always conform to classic varieties and appear more varied than previously suggested.