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Social Protection vs. Economic Flexibility

Is There a Tradeoff?

As the Clinton administration considers major overhauls in health insurance, welfare, and labor market regulation, it is important for economists and policymakers to understand the impact of social and welfare programs on employment rates. This volume explores how programs such as social security, income transfers, and child care in Western Europe, the United States, and Japan have affected labor market flexibility—the ability of workers to adjust to fast-growing segments of the economy.

Does tying health insurance to employment limit job mobility? Do housing policies inhibit workers from moving to new jobs in different areas? What are the effects of daycare and maternity leave policies on working mothers? The authors explore these and many other questions in an effort to understand why European unemployment rates are so high compared with the U.S. rate. Through an examination of diverse data sets across different countries, the authors find that social protection programs do not strongly affect labor market flexibility.

A valuable comparison of labor markets and welfare programs, this book demonstrates how social protection policies have affected employment rates around the globe.

Table of Contents

Rebecca M. Blank
1: Evaluating the Connection between Social Protection and Economic Flexibility
Rebecca M. Blank, Richard B. Freeman.
2: Trends in Social Protection Programs and Expenditures in the 1980s
Peter Scherer
3: Does Employment Protection Inhibit Labor Market Flexibility? Lessons from Germany, France, and Belgium
Katharine G. Abraham, Susan N. Houseman.
4: Patterns in Regional Labor Market Adjustment: The United States versus Japan
Edward B. Montgomery
5: Housing Market Regulations and Housing Market Performance in the United States, Germany, and Japan
Axel Borsch-Supan
6: Health Insurance Provision and Labor Market Efficiency in the United States and Germany
Douglas Holtz-Eakin
7: Social Security and Older Workers’ Labor Market Responsiveness: The United States, Japan, and Sweden
Marcus E. Rebick
8: Public Sector Growth and Labor Market Flexibility: The United States versus the United Kingdom
Rebecca M. Blank
9: Does Public Health Insurance Reduce Labor Market Flexibility or Encourage the Underground Economy? Evidence from Spain and the United States
Sara de la Rica, Thomas Lemieux.
10: Social Welfare Programs for Women and Children: The United States versus France
Maria J. Hanratty
11: Three Regimes of Child Care: The United States, the Netherlands, and Sweden
Siv Gustafsson, Frank P. Stafford.
Author Index
Subject index

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