English title: Unemployment as an Institutional Construct? Structural Differences in Non-Employment in Selected European Countries and the United States

Author(s): M. Erlinghagen - M. Knuth -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2010


A comparison of unemployment rates in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Denmark, the UK and the United States, suggests poor performance by the German labour market. The present study endeavours to show that a more sophisticated picture of unemployment can be drawn by taking into account additional forms of non-employment (e. g. incapacity, retirement or labour reserve). For this purpose, data from the “European Social Survey” (ESS) and the survey “Citizenship, Involvement and Democracy” collected in 2004 and 2005 have been analysed. While “unemployment” plays a dominant role in Germany, people with comparable demographic characteristics and similar health status are more likely to identify themselves as “permanently sick or disabled” and hence classified thus in other countries. The results of this study underline that an international comparison of labour market performance, particularly a comparison of the effectiveness of labour market and social policy reforms, should not rely only on employment and unemployment rates. Taking alternate forms of non-employment into account can enhance one’s knowledge and understanding of the functional differences between the labour markets in Europe and the United States.

Volume: 39

Issue: 1

From page no: 71

To page no: 94

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1017/S0047279409990390

Journal: Journal of Social Policy

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