Job Security in America: Lessons from Germany

Front Cover
Brookings Institution Press, Dec 1, 2010 - Business & Economics - 175 pages
With the onset of the recession in 1990, job security has moved to the forefront of labor market concerns in the United States. During economic downturns, American employers rely heavily on layoffs to cut their work force, much more than do their counterparts in other industrialized nations. The hardships imposed by these layoffs have led many to question whether the U.S. workers can be offered more secure employment without burdening the companies that employ them. In this book, Katharine Abraham and Susan Houseman address this question by comparing labor adjustment practices in the United States, whether existing policies arguably encourage layoffs, with those in Germany, a county with much stronger job protection for workers. From their assessment of the German experience, the authors recommend new public policies that promote alternatives to layoffs and help reduce unemployment. Beginning with an overview of the labor markets in Germany and the United States, Abraham and Houseman emphasize the interaction of various labor market policies. Stronger job security in Germany has been accomplished by an unemployment insurance system that deters layoffs. In the U.S., the unemployment insurance system has encouraged layoffs while discouraging the use of work-sharing schemes. The authors examine the effects of job security on the efficiency and equity of labor market adjustment and review trends in U.S. policy. Finally, the authors recommend reforms of the U.S. unemployment insurance system that include stronger experience rating and an expansion of short-term compensation programs. They also point to the critical link between job security and the system of worker training in Germany, and advocate policies that would encourage more training by U.S. companies.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Introduction
1
Overview of the Book
8
Industrial Relations
11
Industrial Relations in the United States
30
The Effects of Institutions on Labor Market Adjustment
41
An Overview of Labor Market Performance in Germany and the United States
44
Macroeconomic Trends in the 1970s and 1980s
45
The Causes of High German Unemployment
49
The Distributional Effects of Labor Adjustment Policies
100
Distributional Effects by Demographic Group
105
Conclusion
129
Lessons for US Policy
132
Trends in US Policy
133
New Directions for US Policy
141
Conclusion
146
Technical Appendix to Chapter 4
148

Employment Protection Laws as a Cause of Unemployment
53
Conclusion
55
The Effects of Job Security on Labor Adjustment
57
Movements in Employment Hours and Shipments
58
Employment and Hours Adjustment
66
ShortTime Work versus Temporary Layoffs
86
Data Appendix to Chapter 4
154
Data Appendix to Chapter
158
References
161
Index
169
Copyright

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page v - The President bears final responsibility for the decision to publish a manuscript as a Brookings book. In reaching his judgment on the competence, accuracy, and objectivity of each study, the President is advised by the director of the appropriate research program and weighs the views of a panel of expert outside readers who report to him in confidence on the quality of the work. Publication of a work signifies that it is deemed a competent treatment worthy of public consideration but does not imply...
Page v - The by-laws of the Institution state, "It is the function of the Trustees to make possible the conduct of scientific research, and publication, under the most favorable conditions, and to safeguard the independence of the research staff in the pursuit of their studies and in the publication of the results of such studies. It is not a part of their function to determine, control, or influence the conduct of particular investigations or the conclusions reached.
Page 178 - Abraham is professor of economics at the University of Maryland and a research associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Page v - Its principal purposes are to aid in the development of sound public policies and to promote public understanding of issues of national importance. The Institution was founded on December 8, 1927, to merge the activities of the Institute for Government Research, founded in 1916, the Institute of Economics, founded in 1922, and the Robert Brookings Graduate School of Economics and Government, founded in 1924. The Board of Trustees is responsible for the general administration of the Institution, while...

Bibliographic information