Labour market policy: International and comparative perspectives

The functioning of public policy is economically dependent on high levels of employment and on few people being involuntarily out of work, with the former contributing to raising tax revenue and the latter to reducing expenditure on unemployment benefits and related services. Labour market policy is therefore a crucial policy field both for societies as a whole as well as for those who are unemployed and job seeking or threatened by unemployment. This course aims to provide a thorough understanding of the range of policy instruments which facilitate working-age people to enter or maintain employment and protect from economic risks related to the functioning of labour markets. Essentially these are various types of active labour market policies, unemployment benefit systems and employment protection legislation. However, other policy fields influence opportunities of participation in labour markets too, such as early childhood education and care policies. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to systematically compare labour market policies in a narrow and wider perspective across national contexts, engage critically with evaluative evidence of their impact, and appreciate the socio-political and economic constraints on labour market policy development. Sessions will typically combine short introductions/lectures which are followed by class discussions of one or two key texts or student group presentations.