Unemployment Vulnerability and Active Labor Market Policies
This chapter analyses how the interaction between government partisanship and unemployment vulnerability affect the politics of active labour market policies (ALMPs) in Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. The analysis of the Spanish case shows that government partisanship does not affect ALMPs. Social democratic governments in Spain have not promoted higher levels of ALMPs compared with conservative ones. Developments in the Netherlands are remarkably similar to those in Spain. The analysis of the UK case shows a clear temporal division. During the 1970s and 1980s, government partisanship did not affect a general disinterest in ALMPs. Employers did not want them, unions had incentives not to pay too much attention to them, and Conservative and Labour governments had no reason to favour them. High levels of insider protection made the Labour Party indifferent to ALMPs until the arrival of Margaret Thatcher. The decrease in insider protection promoted by the conservative governments of Thatcher and Major facilitated a new interest in ALMPs by insiders and the emergence of Blair's Third Way (defined as a Labour strategy with employment promotion as a preeminent goal).
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