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Youth Labor in TransitionInequalities, Mobility, and Policies in Europe$

Jacqueline O'Reilly, Janine Leschke, Renate Ortlieb, Martin Seeleib-Kaiser, and Paola Villa

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190864798

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190864798.001.0001

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Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market

Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market

Chapter:
(p.163) 6 Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market
Source:
Youth Labor in Transition
Author(s):

Maria Petmesidou

María González Menéndez

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780190864798.003.0006

Abstract and Keywords

In the aftermath of the Great Recession, rising levels of youth unemployment led to an array of policy responses involving learning, transfer, and experimentation to address the complex needs of youth at risk. Reviewing these recent experiences, this chapter examines nine European countries (including Turkey) representing a range of different school-to-work transition regimes and with varying levels of youth unemployment and gender inequalities. It analyzes the institutional and process “enablers” of and “barriers” to policy learning and innovation, and it traces the pathways and major foci of learning and transfer within and between countries, as well as through supranational channels. This examination highlights where changes in policy governance have occurred. It is concluded that innovative initiatives for sustained labor market integration of youth require a policy environment that is conducive to coordinated sharing and diffusion of knowledge between different levels of administration and joint stakeholders’ bodies.

Keywords:   policy learning, policy transfer, innovation, policy entrepreneurs, Youth Guarantee, vocational education and training

6.1. Introduction

The Great Recession has significantly aggravated problems with the labor market integration of youth that have been evident for several decades in some areas of Europe. The need to develop effective measures for sustained school-to-work (STW) transitions has become a paramount political concern on the European Union (EU) policy agenda. It has generated EU initiatives for a common focus among member states on comprehensive and integrated policies for youth at risk. This has accelerated mutual learning, policy transfer, and experimentation with new practices in order to build resilient bridges to the youth labor market. Drawing on the policy learning and transfer literature, we test the hypothesis that a distinction can be made between countries with policy machineries that facilitate both learning and experimentation with new, proactive youth employment measures and those exhibiting considerable inertia.

Our analysis covers eight EU member states (Belgium, Denmark, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, and the United Kingdom) and one accession state (Turkey).1 They represent a range of STW transition regimes (Walther and Pohl 2005; Hadjivassiliou et al., this volume) and welfare regimes exhibiting different levels of national performance relating to youth unemployment and its gender dimension (Gökşen et al. 2016a). The primary research consists of interviews conducted in each of the nine countries with policy (p.164) experts, officials, academics, and researchers. It is complemented by an analysis of available secondary data.

We find that local/regional administrations and agencies are more likely to exchange knowledge on policy processes and tools among themselves and also to get involved in cross-country mutual policy learning. Most important, a mode of policy governance based on regional/local partnerships and networks of public services, professional bodies and education/training providers, employers, youth associations, and other stakeholders tends to stimulate policy experimentation. The role of policy entrepreneurs in promoting policy learning and transfer has also been ascertained in a few cases. However, for these manifestations of learning and innovation to yield results of sustained labor market integration of youth, a national policy environment is required that is conducive to coordinated sharing and diffusion of information and experience between different levels of administration and joint stakeholders’ bodies.

Our hypothesis is proven true in this respect in that it brings to the fore a distinction between countries with more or less systematic interaction and feedback between all levels of administration—from the bottom up and vice versa—and those with poor channels of sharing and diffusion of policy knowledge. The factors accounting for the latter are, among others, overcentralized administrative structures, fragmentation/overlapping of competences, and bureaucratic inertia.

The remainder of this chapter consists of four sections. The first frames the research question and presents our conceptual and analytical framework, and the second lays out the research methodology. The third section assesses, at a macro level, the relevance of policy learning in the political/policy agenda of the countries studied and also examines the most significant channels of policy influence, transfer, and diffusion within and across various levels of governance (including the supranational level). It additionally provides a microanalysis of specific cases of more or less successful policy innovation with regard to the Youth Guarantee (YG; or a similar program) and apprenticeship schemes. We also reflect on the extent to which the gender dimension in STW transitions is taken into account in policy learning and innovation. The final section discusses the conclusions deriving from our findings.

6.2. Research question and analytical framework

Labor market and welfare policy arrangements in European countries are increasingly open to “recalibration” and transformation through complex policy learning and policy transfer routes that, as Dwyer and Ellison (2009, 390) state, “undermine traditional welfare regime characteristics, and both pluralise and deinstitutionalise sources of policy making.” Available literature on policy transfer regarding work transitions has so far focused on globalization influences (p.165) and transatlantic policy transfer with respect to welfare-to-work schemes and on the “iterative process” across Europe involving the adoption of “workfare” elements in social welfare policies and their subsequent adaptation within national traditions (Peck and Theodore 2001; Fergusson 2002; Dwyer and Ellison 2009). A systematic examination of policy learning and transfer across STW transition regimes at different levels of governance and with respect to the role and influence of key actors (state and nonstate, as well as supranational actors) is lacking. There has also been little research on the degree to which EU-level youth strategies since the late 2000s (particularly the Youth Opportunities Initiative) have been a “leverage” for policy learning and change—assessed in terms of the extent, direction, and effectiveness of policy innovation.

The presence of policy learning and transfer cannot be assumed to lead automatically to successful outcomes (Dwyer and Ellison 2009). Similarly, not all policy innovations are necessarily effective, and there is no clear evidence of an association between policy innovations’ effectiveness and the type of policy transfer and learning, be it voluntary or coercive (Dolowitz and Marsh 2000) or soft or hard (Stone 2004). Nonetheless, some literature supports the hypothesis of a positive association between the degree of innovation/experimentation in employment policy and the strength of established processes of policy learning and transfer (Evans 2009; Legrand 2012). Accordingly, countries frequently experimenting with new, proactive youth employment measures and those exhibiting path dependence and inertia (European Commission 2011; Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) 2015) appear to respectively exhibit stronger and weaker established processes of policy learning and transfer. In this chapter, we test this hypothesis with the aim of highlighting, for a number of European countries, institutional and governance aspects of STW transition policies that facilitate or hinder learning and innovation. We also examine EU influence in this respect.

We are interested in effective innovations, which we define as policy changes in objectives, programs, and delivery processes that are conducive to positive results with regard to the labor market and the social inclusion of youth (particularly of the most disadvantaged/disaffected young people). Our definition of (effective) innovation is in agreement with the European Commission’s social innovation concept, defined as the development of “new ideas, services and models to better address social issues.”2

Crucial, as a point of departure, is Hall’s (1993, 278) definition of policy learning “as a deliberate attempt to adjust the goals or techniques of policy in response to past experience and new information.” Hall further distinguishes between radical changes in the basic instruments of policy and in policy goals (second- and third-order changes, respectively), on the one hand, and piecemeal changes in the levels or settings of these instruments (first-order changes), on the other hand.3 Also key are Streeck and Thelen’s (2005) concepts for understanding institutional change, namely “layering” and “conversion.” Here, we (p.166) pay greater attention to the former, defined as “grafting of new elements onto an otherwise stable institutional framework,” which—if it takes place for prolonged periods—can “significantly alter the overall trajectory of an institution’s development” (Thelen 2004, 35; see also Hacker 2004). Streeck and Thelen’s approach seeks to show that significant innovative, path-departing reforms can occur beyond “critical junctures” and/or strong “outside pressures.” In this sense, it provides an insight into how Hall’s first- and second-order changes may, in the long term, extensively alter the core objectives and role of an institution—resulting in radical change. These approaches identify major mechanisms of change and develop partly overlapping, partly complementary typologies.

In addition, we refer to a range of pathways along which policy change takes place: (1) through a more or less intentional policy learning and transfer process that—according to Dolowitz and Marsh (2000)—could consist in “copying,” “emulation,” and/or “inspiration” drawn from abroad; (2) in a context in which outside triggers may open up “windows of opportunity” for domestic policy entrepreneurs to push forward reform agendas (see Kingdon 1984; Roberts and King 1996); and (3) as a more or less coerced policy change and transfer (e.g., where EU funding or bailout deals are provided subject to certain conditions). The combination of mechanisms and pathways of policy change and innovation provide our analytical framework.

6.3. Selection/grouping of countries and methodology

We used a combination of three criteria for selecting the nine countries under study. First, we included countries that joined the EU at different stages of enlargement, and we also added an accession country. Second, drawing on Walther and Pohl’s (2005) study of STW transition regimes and Gangl’s (2001) analysis of labor market entry patterns, we selected countries spanning the entire range of categories differentiated by these authors. Walther and Pohl identified five STW transition regimes: the universalistic regime of Nordic countries, the employment-centered regime of Continental countries, the liberal regime of Anglo-Saxon countries, the subprotective regime of Mediterranean countries, and the post-socialist or transitional regime (with subprotective traits) in Central and Eastern European countries. In our study, these categories are represented, respectively, by Denmark; the United Kingdom; Belgium, France, and the Netherlands; Greece, Spain, and Turkey; and Slovakia. Labor market entry patterns provide a cross-cutting dimension: In Belgium, France, Spain, and the United Kingdom, labor market entry is driven by internal labor markets (ILM); in Denmark and the Netherlands, it is driven by occupational labor markets (OLM); and in Greece, it is driven by a mix of very high employment risks at (p.167) the outset of careers with little volatility once in employment. The stronger role of job experience and worker mobility in ILM- compared to OLM-driven labor markets makes youth labor market outcomes much less favorable in the former case (Gangl 2001).

The third criterion concerns the scale of the youth problem in Europe, assessed in terms of the total and long-term youth unemployment rates and the poverty and social exclusion risks faced by youth not in employment, education, or training (NEETs). According to the STW transition regime literature, the severity of the youth problem varies significantly across regimes, as does the propensity to engage in policy experimentation at the national and local levels of government. This is the case even though innovative practices do not always imply successful youth employment outcomes—either in terms of efficiency (achieving the highest possible youth employment rate) or in terms of equity (significantly lowering the incidence of NEETs and the risk of poverty). Our aim is to highlight the factors driving or hindering effective innovation in terms of youth labor market outcomes.

As shown in Figure 6.1, Greece and Spain exhibit youth unemployment rates of greater than 50% and also experience comparatively high long-term youth (p.168) unemployment. Slovakia shares some similarities with Greece and Spain in that it scores highly on both these indicators. Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, and Austria exhibit the lowest youth unemployment and long-term unemployment rates. Belgium and France have higher rates than the latter countries because they have been affected by rising total and long-term youth unemployment, although not as acutely as is the case in Southern Europe. The United Kingdom performs better than the previously mentioned two Continental countries but less well than the best performers (Germany, Austria, Denmark, and Netherlands).4 In Turkey, the youth problem appears to be less severe than in most Continental, Eastern, and Southern European countries.5

Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market

Figure 6.1 Comparison of countries on the severity of the “youth problem,” as indicated by youth total and long-term unemployment rates (aged 15–24 years), 2014/2015. The youth unemployment rate refers to the 2015 annual rate, whereas the youth long-term unemployment rate refers to the 2014 rate. Unemployment is considered long term if its duration exceeds 12 months.

Note: We focus on the youth age range 15–24 years because this is the most commonly used age bracket in the youth unemployment official statistics of most EU countries.

Source: Figure drawn by the authors on the basis of Eurostat’s EU-LFS and YOUTH data.

Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market

Figure 6.2 Comparison of countries on the severity of the “youth problem,” as indicated by the NEET rate and the at-risk-of-poverty and/or social exclusion rate (males aged 15–24 years). The NEETs rates refers to 2014 and the at-risk-of-poverty and/or social exclusion rates to 2013; there are no data for Turkey on youth at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion.

Note: The poverty and/or social exclusion indicator refers to the share of youth in at least one of the following conditions: (1) living below the poverty line (defined as 60% of median equivalized income); (2) experiencing severe material deprivation; and (3) living in a household with very low work intensity. This is a household indicator that is sensitive to cases where young people leave the parental home early (e.g., in Denmark).

Source: Figure drawn by the authors on the basis of the Eurostat YOUTH data.

Policy transfer and innovation for building resilient bridges to the youth labor market

Figure 6.3 Comparison of countries on the severity of the “youth problem,” as indicated by the NEET rate and the at-risk-of-poverty and/or social exclusion rate (females aged 15–24 years), The NEETs rates refers to 2014 and the at-risk-of-poverty and/or social exclusion rates refer to 2013; there are no data for Turkey on youth at-risk-of-poverty or social exclusion.

Note: The poverty and/or social exclusion indicator refers to the share of youth in at least one of the following conditions: (1) living below the poverty line (defined as 60% of median equivalized income); (2) experiencing severe material deprivation; and (3) living in a household with very low work intensity. This is a household indicator that is sensitive to cases where young people leave the parental home early (e.g., in Denmark).

Source: Figure drawn by the authors on the basis of the Eurostat YOUTH data.

Regarding NEETs and the at-risk-of-poverty and/or social exclusion rates (particularly among young females), the United Kingdom performs worse than the Continental and Scandinavian countries (Figures 6.2 and 6.3), with young women facing a higher risk of poverty and social exclusion and of being NEET. Belgium, Denmark, and France exhibit no substantial gender differences. In fact, in Denmark, young women fare slightly better than men in terms of these dimensions. In Greece and Spain, the “youth problem” in terms of disengagement from education, training, and employment is most acute. Greece is an outlier because it exhibits one of the highest NEET rates and risk of poverty and/ (p.169) or social exclusion among the young (particularly among young women) (see Mascherini, this volume).

Denmark, the United Kingdom, and the Netherlands exhibit the shortest (first) job search periods for the young, with no significant gender differences (approximately 5–11 months for 75% of the examined youth cohorts who had entered the labor market). Belgium and France follow with 16–27 months, with no significant gender differences either. The longest search periods are found in Greece and Spain (36–38 months, with a significant gender gap—in favor of men—in Spain). The transition to a first job is shorter in Slovakia, albeit with very pronounced gender differences (17 months for men and 29 months for women) (see Flek, Hála, and Mysíková, this volume).6

The nine countries we selected on the basis of the three criteria mentioned previously were divided into two groups. Group A is composed of Denmark, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom, whereas Group B is made up of Belgium, France, Greece, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey. Group A countries have lower youth unemployment rates and shorter job search periods for first entry into the labor market compared to Group B.

In the light of the analytical framework discussed previously, we examine differences and similarities between (and within) the two groups of countries. The analysis draws on data and information obtained through semistructured, (p.170) in-depth interviews carried out in each of the nine countries with key stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of youth-related policies (high-ranking officials in ministries and relevant public services; in trade unions and employers’ associations; in vocational education and apprenticeship services; and in youth organizations, firms, and other major relevant bodies), as well as with academics and researchers with a good grasp of policy issues and challenges regarding youth labor markets; policy learning and transfer within and across countries; and policy negotiation, planning, and implementation.

In countries with highly centralized policymaking processes, the majority of interviewees were selected from among officials and other stakeholders at the national level, whereas in countries with devolved power in policymaking, the interviews were conducted with informants at the regional/local level. A common template laid out the issues to be covered, but the interviews were adapted to each specific national case.

Table 6.1 depicts the number of interviews conducted in each country.7 These took place in two rounds (June–September 2015 and December 2015 to January 2016). In the second round, case studies of schemes with an innovative potential were carried out. Because a comprehensive and integrated approach to STW transition (including apprenticeships) is at the forefront of EU initiatives providing a (more or less) convergent trend among member countries (Hadjivassiliou et al., this volume), the case studies selected in each country consisted of interventions under the YG (or similar scheme easing transition to the labor market) and apprenticeship schemes introducing innovation in the structure, management, and knowledge base of vocational education and training (VET). In some cases, persons interviewed during the first phase of the study were also included among the interviewees of the second phase. In the light of our thematic focus, the national teams also scrutinized the available literature for each country with the aim of understanding the major planks of academic and public debate on facilitators of or constraints on policy innovation.

Table 6.1 Countries examined by STW regime, interviews conducted, and in-depth studies of specific schemes with innovative potential

Countries and STW transition regimes

No. of (semistructured) interviewsa

Schemes studied in Phase 2

Phase 1

Phase 2

Schemes with holistic approach

Innovative apprenticeship schemes

Group A

DK

Universalistic

6

4

YG (in place before launching of EU initiative)

Operation Apprenticeship

UK

Liberal

11

7

Youth Contract (similar to YG)

Apprenticeship Trailblazers

NL

Employment-centered (OLM)

25

Pact for Youth-Unemployment-Free Zone in Mid-Brabant (South Netherlands)

Collaborative initiative in Amsterdam region

Group B

FR

Employment-centered (ILM)

8

8

Schemes integrated into YG

Second Chance Schools

BE

Employment-centered (ILM)

3

4

Regional schemes for YG

JEEP (Jeunes, École, Emploi) program

Subprotective

ESb

11

14

YG in three localities (Avilés, Gijón, Lugones)

Pilots of dual training in Asturias region

EL

14

7

Voucher for Labor Market Entry (main strand of YG so far)

Experimental Vocational Training Schools (tourism sector)

SKc

7

6

National Project Community Centers (Roma communities)

Dual VET initiated by Automotive Industry Association

TR

11

3

On-the-Job Training Program

Apprenticeship Program (dual system)

(a) The number of interviews varies depending on the scope of the literature available on the issues studied (for each country) and from which valuable information could be obtained.

(b) According to Gangl (2001), Spain clusters with the Northern European ILM countries (with high labor mobility), but it also shares the characteristic of family support to the young with the other Southern European countries under the subprotective regime.

(c) Post-socialist, but similarities with Southern European countries.

ILM, internal labor markets; OLM, occupational labor markets; STW, school-to-work.

6.4. The dynamics of policy change and innovation

In this section, we lay out and compare the major channels of policy influence, transfer, and diffusion within and across various levels of governance (including the supranational level) in the countries studied. Specific instances of innovative schemes in each country are also analyzed. The aim is to highlight major aspects of institutional structures, governance patterns, and interactions among main players in policy design and delivery that facilitate or hinder policy learning and innovation.

6.4.1. “Enablers” of and “Barriers” to Policy Learning and Innovation

Institutional (and process) “enablers” and “barriers” in the sphere of policy learning and innovation are examined in the nine countries with regard to whether the political/policy environment is conducive or not to learning and (p.171) (p.172) innovation; the main mechanisms of policy change and innovation; and the pathways of learning and transfer. The information is presented schematically in Tables 6.2 and 6.3.

Table 6.2 Aspects of policy learning and innovation (Group A countries)

Country

Political/policy environment conducive to policy learning, transfer, innovation (A)

Pathways of learning and transfer (B)

Mechanisms of policy learning and transfer (C)

“Enablers”

“Barriers”

Within-country policy learning

Cross-country mutual learning (inspiration, copying, experimental emulation, etc.)

EU influence (OMC, European Semester, funding conditionality, “bailout” deals)

Incremental adjustment, fine-tuning, “layering,” and/or redeployment of old institutions/measures for new purposes

Changes in policy instruments; new innovative schemes

Changes in specific or broad policy goals

Coordinated learning

Voluntarist learning (peer-to-peer, codes of conduct, etc.)

Denmark

Robust evidence-based policymaking under corporatist governance

Weakening corporatist governance

Systematic bottom-up/top-down policy learning

Some evidence

Some inspiration (e.g., Swiss model for VET reform in Denmark)

“Exporters” of policy ideas in the EU (ALMPs, flexicurity model)

EU program funding conditionality not a major stimulus

“Exporters” of ALMPs

Strong evidence (e.g., of “layering”)

Strengthening effectiveness of VET in meeting skills needs (at the expense of social integration role)

Netherlands

No strong tradition of ex-ante or ex-post evaluation research

Centralized youth policy governance cannot address regional/local challenges

Influence goes both ways, but more bottom-up initiatives through networking

As above

As above

As above

Evidence of incremental adjustment

Experimentation with network governance

“Triple helix” form of governance

United Kingdom

Robust evidence-based policymaking—Use of piloting, controlled experiments, etc.

Liberal tradition and market competition do not favor diffusion or feedback for strategic decision-making

Evidence used for fine-tuning—Devolution facilitates policy learning cross-regionally

High reliance on voluntarist learning—Dense network of think tanks and policy communities

Influence of OECD and other Anglo-Saxon countries—Apprenticeship Trailblazer initiative may imply emulation of other EU countries

As above

Strong evidence of incremental adjustment and fine-tuning

Apprenticeship Trailblazers: Shift of focus from education providers to employers

OMC, open method of coordination (a soft form of EU intergovernmental policy learning and regulation; see Smith et al., this volume).

Source: Compiled on the basis of the information provided by the country reports.

Table 6.3 Aspects of policy learning and innovation (Group B countries)

Country

Political/policy environment conducive to policy learning, transfer, innovation (A)

Pathways of learning and transfer (B)

Mechanisms of policy learning and transfer (C)

“Enablers”

“Barriers”

Within-country policy learning

Cross-country mutual learning (inspiration, copying, experimental emulation, etc.)

EU influence (OMC, European Semester, funding conditionality, “bailout” deals)

Incremental adjustment, fine-tuning, “layering,” and/or redeployment of old institutions/measures for new purposes

Changes in policy instruments; new innovative schemes

Changes in specific or broad policy goals

Coordinated learning

Voluntarist learning (peer-to-peer, codes of conduct, etc.)

France

Strong monitoring and evaluation tradition

Institutional stasis due to “dirigiste” governance—“Policy fatigue”

Limited: Relatively poor coordination between different institutional actors

Limited: Low involvement of employers, union activism important in policy learning

Inspiration from EU (e.g., Second Chance Schools) and other EU countries (e.g., Germany)

OMC on ALMPs—EC recommendations and EU programs have accelerated measures for youth

Incremental changes

Second Chance Schools (innovation in pedagogical principles that set in train institutional diffusion process)

Belgium

Piloting and evaluation widespread but no systematic feedback into policy design

Fragmentation of competencies causes inconsistent cooperation across regions and with other actors

Limited cross-regional learning (Synerjob program facilitates peer-to-peer learning)

Strong influence through soft forms of learning from other EU countries

As above

Increasing cross-regional cooperation in new programs

Spain

Limited evaluation, mostly linked to EU-funded programs

Fragmentation of competencies and political competition—Some policy inertia

Formal channels limited to state and autonomous communities

Limited but evidence of informal networks

EU influence strong in terms of policy goals and resources; weaker in terms of outcomes—EU channels (mutual learning, expert networks) are important

OMC on ALMPs—EC/Troika recommendations and EU program requirements

YG national registry (links and recentralizes data)—Increased weight of evaluation

Path shift toward dual VET

Greece

Excessive bureaucratization and high degree of policy inertia—Path dependence

Limited diffusion, mostly through EU influence and bailout requirements

Limited dialogue—Some diffusion by domestic policy entrepreneurs

As above

Coerced transfer under bailout deal and EU program requirements

As above

Slovakia

Party political expediency limits innovation

No systematic feedback between different institutional actors

As above

As above

EC recommendations and EU program requirements

Experimentation with work-based interventions at local level

As above

Turkey

Absence of evaluation and rare piloting

Overcentralized and monolithic administrative structure

Fragmented project-based solutions, no systematic feedback

Very limited

Some copying and/or emulation in context of World Bank-funded projects and accession process, but decreasing impact of latter

Eligibility criteria of EU and World Bank-funded programs and requirements of “acquis”

Redeployment of old instruments for introducing ALMPs by PES

Establishment of Vocational Qualifications Authority

OMC, open method of coordination (a soft form of EU intergovernmental policy learning and regulation; see Smith et al., this volume).

Source: Compiled on the basis of the information provided by the country reports.

Denmark and the United Kingdom stand out as the countries whose policy environments are most oriented toward evidence-based policymaking. In Denmark, corporatist learning supports a highly coordinated sharing and diffusion of knowledge between different levels of administration and joint stakeholders’ bodies. Recent reform in the apprenticeship-based VET system responds to the pressure for employment-relevant education and training in line with the requirements of the flexicurity model,8 which—in a context of high reservation wages and collectively agreed minimum wages—creates strong pressures for young workers to perform productive work immediately after being hired. The strengthening of the link between benefit provisions to the young and the obligation to participate in education—in parallel with the introduction of a grade requirement for entering vocational education—placed VET at the center of the growth agenda of Danish politics.

Denmark is more of an exporter of policy ideas to other EU countries, particularly with regard to active labor market policies (ALMPs) and the concept of flexicurity. However, soft forms of learning across countries and through supranational channels are also important; for example, inspiration from the Swiss VET model has influenced reform in Denmark. As to the mechanism of change, the 2014 reform of the Danish VET system constitutes a case of institutional “layering,” in which an element of “merit” (namely the “grade requirement”) is attached to the existing institutional setup. The aim is to improve the quality and the perceived value of VET at the expense of its social integration role regarding youngsters who fail to achieve mainstream education standards. The latter function is undertaken by other programs targeted at disadvantaged youth (immigrants and youth with working-class backgrounds). In this way, however, disadvantaged young people run the risk of leaving education with inadequate qualifications. Gender considerations with regard to policy innovation play a minor role in Denmark, given the limited differences in unemployment rates for young men and young women. Recently, information campaigns and the use of student counselors have sought to address gender differences in educational choice. Additional mentoring services for young mothers have also been introduced (Gökşen et al. 2016a, 48–50).

In the United Kingdom, a strong liberal tradition impedes coordinated policy diffusion and feedback. Instead, we find high reliance on voluntarist learning (peer-to-peer learning, codes of conduct, etc.). EU initiatives and program-funding eligibility criteria are not a major stimulus of policy innovation. Cross-country learning and emulation concern mostly Anglo-Saxon and OECD countries. However, devolution of powers to the home nations has arguably created favorable conditions for the diffusion of good practices and has promoted a closer dialogue with EU policy initiatives by the devolved entities (p.173) (p.174) (p.175) (p.176) (p.177) (e.g., Wales). Although there is a well-established tradition of robust evidence-based policymaking, backed by a dense network of epistemic/policy communities and think tanks facilitating extensive piloting, trailblazers, and so forth, there is no systematic and coordinated flow of information into high levels of (strategic) policy decision-making. Accumulated evidence is used for fine-tuning policies and for changes in policy instruments—that is, mostly for first- and second-order changes, according to Hall’s (1993) approach to policy change. A shift in policy goals is emerging in the VET field with the Apprenticeship Trailblazers initiative (discussed later). Regarding gender considerations, a number of programs (among others, Women’s Start-Up and Inspiring the Future) are aimed at tackling gender segregation; increasing women’s presence in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics; and keeping young parents in education (Gökşen et al. 2016a, 52–53).

Compared to Denmark, corporatist learning in the Netherlands is less robust. Nevertheless, bottom-up innovations are usually introduced through concerted action between various local stakeholders, as is the case, for instance, with the Youth Starter’s Grant—the largest scheme for facilitating SWT transition, run by approximately 150 municipalities; the Pact for a Youth-Unemployment-Free Zone in the Mid-Brabant region; and innovative education reform practices in Amsterdam. Such initiatives embrace the “triple-” or “multi-helix” model, which consists of collaboration, at the local level, between public administration and services, educational institutions, and the market (Bekker, van de Meer, and Muffels 2015). There is no strong tradition of controlled experiments or systematic ex-post evaluation research. However, like Denmark, the Netherlands is an exporter of good practices, such as the integrated personalized approach to youth unemployment adopted under the European Commission YG initiative. Soft forms of cross-country learning exert an influence on policy innovation in this country as well. Interregional policy transfer and emulation is highly important: For instance, the “Brainport” model of network-based regional development (South Netherlands) that emerged in the late 1990s has provided inspiration and a blueprint for local actors’ innovative initiatives in the Mid-Brabant region and the Amsterdam area. The major barriers to policy change are the centralized governance of youth policies and the lack of interaction/integration between policy domains, of concrete target setting, and of impact assessment of single policies and their combined effect. Current innovative initiatives seek to tackle these barriers from the bottom up.

European-level influence is more decisive in initiating policy change in Group B countries. Piloting, program evaluation, and impact assessment are performed less systematically, and even if program evaluation is widespread, it is difficult to ascertain whether the acquired evidence effectively feeds into policy design. In Belgium, significant institutional barriers emerge from fragmentation/overlapping of competences in the fields of education, training, and employment policy for youth between the two levels of government (federal and regional) (p.178) and the different language communities. This condition significantly slows the sharing of information on good practices. At the same time, EU influence is extensive, while some new schemes (e.g., the Synerjob scheme, in which public employment services (PES) from the different regions work together to fill vacancies through mixed job-counseling teams) open up opportunities for an incremental adjustment in the direction of peer-to-peer learning across regions and language communities with the aim of strengthening interregional labor mobility.

France stands out with respect to monitoring and evaluation. It fits the evidence-based tradition (of Group A countries), particularly as regards its VET system, paired with a long-standing concern about youth unemployment. At the same time, a high degree of institutional stasis due to the “dirigiste tradition” (a strong directive action by the state) is identified as a barrier to innovation. Notwithstanding policy compartmentalization and “policy fatigue,” the main enablers of and barriers to policy innovation in youth employment and education policies are public opinion and social tensions, which have sometimes triggered (or halted) reform, particularly in connection with labor contracts. The EU and other supranational bodies are identified as important sources of innovation. Regarding the intersection of vulnerable youth, gender, and employment, a significant innovative scheme launched in 2012—Emplois d’avenir (Jobs of the Future)—which comes under the French YG, consists of a holistic intervention (of subsidized work contracts, training/coaching, and counseling) and is addressed to youth from disadvantaged areas and disabled young people. Also since 2012, tackling the gender segregation of young people into male and female sectors has become a policy target (Gökşen et al. 2016a, 50–51).

In the other four countries, the range of policy innovation and knowledge diffusion is limited by highly centralized administration structures (in Greece and Turkey), excessive bureaucratization (in Greece), policy inertia and path dependence (in Spain), and the fact that political interests overrule policy decisions (mostly in Turkey). However, Slovakia, as well as a number of regional governments in Spain (particularly those where policy coordination between regions/localities is stronger), stand out as examples of innovative initiatives (e.g., the initiative by the automotive sector for VET reform in Slovakia and specific examples of policy learning and sharing of “good examples” in the regions of Aragon, Asturias, and others in Spain). In Greece, Slovakia, and Spain, EU-program and European Social Fund funding conditionality are significant drivers of policy change. This is partly the case in Turkey, too, with regard to the accession process. However, sometimes project-based initiatives for policy experimentation wither away as funding expires.

Greece has experienced coerced transfer under the EU bailout, particularly in the field of labor protection legislation, with reforms that were embraced in the successive rescue deals dismantling collective bargaining, introducing subminimum wages for youth, and increasing flexibility in hiring and dismissals. In Greece, Slovakia, and Spain, a path shift is underway in VET structures in an (p.179) attempt to strengthen the dual system under the initiative provided in the context of the European Alliance for Apprenticeships and bilateral agreements between Germany (an exporter of the dual system) and six EU countries. Domestic policy entrepreneurs (the Automotive Industry Association in Slovakia and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels in collaboration with the Greek–German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Greece) played a significant role in seizing the opportunity for experimenting with the dual VET system under the influence of external stimuli. This experimental emulation paved the way for a wholesale reform of VET in Slovakia.

Gender mainstreaming in youth employment policies is not prevalent in the two Southern European countries. In Spain, a gender concern can be found only in two youth employment policies: (1) the 2012 entrepreneurship contract for young women (aged 16–30 years) in male-dominated industries and (2) the consideration of age 35 years (vs. 30 years for men) as the maximum age for capitalizing 100% of unemployment benefits in a lump sum for self-employment. In Greece, there are specific support schemes for women’s entrepreneurship, but these do not particularly target young women. Likewise, some programs addressed to youth (Gates for Youth Entrepreneurship, Youth in Action, and European Youth Card) only marginally embrace a gender perspective.

In summary, in the Group A countries, a strong debate on the mismatch between the skills provided by the educational and VET systems and those required in the workplace constitutes a significant driver of policy change and innovation (see McGuinness, Bergin, and Whelan, this volume). In Denmark, under the universalistic STW transition regime and within a systematic framework of knowledge diffusion between all levels of governance and stakeholders’ bodies, VET reform for tackling this mismatch reflects a “layering” change process. Under the liberal STW regime of the United Kingdom, despite robust ex-ante and ex-post policy evaluation, competition and choice leave little room for coordinated diffusion of evidence/knowledge that could feed into policy decisions (except for policy fine-tuning). And yet there is evidence of an incipient radical change that brings employers to the center of VET policy design and delivery. The Netherlands represents an interesting example of copying/emulation of innovative policies across regions.

In the Group B countries, EU stimuli and inspiration from other EU countries for policy change are found to be quite significant. Policy entrepreneurs can also play an important role in these initiatives. France, Greece, and Slovakia provide some examples of EU influence opening a “window of opportunity” for local policy entrepreneurs to act as pull factors for major reform in VET/education. In Greece, however, which exemplifies a case of coerced reform under the rescue deals, this has been of marginal impact so far. European stimuli fostering cooperation at the local/regional level constitute an important channel of innovative initiatives in Belgium and Spain. Turkey exhibits strong barriers to policy innovation mostly because of its overcentralized administrative structures, (p.180) monolithic policy implementation institutions, and overruling of policy choices by political expediency.

Finally, even though there is much concern among EU countries about gender equality in the professional sphere, there is limited focus on the intersection of youth, gender, and employment in all the countries examined (see Gökşen et al. 2016a).

6.4.2. Case Studies of Policy Innovation

Following the brief, comparative macro perspective presented previously, this section further elucidates the foci of innovation on the basis of case studies of YG and apprenticeship policies. The schemes studied range from ambitious, novel initiatives at an early stage (in the case of the Netherlands) to well-established programs with a positive impact on youth labor markets (e.g., the YG in Denmark). Steps taken toward a holistic/integrated approach to youth unemployment triggered by the European Commission YG program, with little progress so far in terms of nationwide implementation (in Greece, Slovakia, and Spain), have also been included.

We use three interrelated (and partly overlapping) dimensions for analyzing and comparing policy innovations. The first dimension concerns the extent to which the selected policy schemes produce significant changes in the institutional setting and/or in the group of actors involved in their design and implementation. Of crucial importance is how the schemes impact on changes in policy governance by promoting more or less structured forms of cooperation between actors at different levels of administration and between major stakeholders (employers, trade unions, youth organizations, and others) with the aim of improving service provision to disadvantaged youth. The second dimension refers to changes in the way policy is formulated and in the policy toolkit with a view to reaching out to disadvantaged youth, improving the skill profile of young jobseekers, and providing integrated services. Third, we trace the main pathway(s) in which innovation takes place: (1) through more or less intentional policy learning (among domestic actors at different territorial levels and/or across countries); (2) via a push provided by policy entrepreneurs; and (3) through EU influence, mainly with regard to the flagship initiatives for youth (the YG and the European Alliance for Apprenticeships). Tables 6.4 and 6.5 briefly summarize the trends along these three dimensions in the two groups of countries.

Table 6.4 Summary of findings—YG or similar scheme

Changes in governance

Changes in policy tool kit

Pathways of policy innovation

“Triple-” or “multi-helix” governance

Holistic intervention

Intentional learning, experimentation

Policy entrepreneurs

EU influence

Group A countries

DK

Active path in context of holistic interventions. New measures focus on speeding up intervention and improving individual screening

Lessons drawn from previous schemes

“Exporter” of YG

NL

Partnership- and network-based initiatives at regional level supporting comprehensive, integrated policies

Cross-regional learning very important

Important—Also “exporter” of policies

UK

More interagency and joined-up partnership working under YG, with mixed results—“Payment by results” drives performance

Local tailoring important, limited collaboration in delivery

Lessons drawn from previous schemes

Important for regions with devolved government

Group B countries

FR

Limited evidence (partnerships often ad hoc)—Innovation linked to coordination of existing measures

As above

In some local missions and Pôles emploi

Important

BE

Regional and local examples of establishing partnerships with nonstate actors and experimenting with holistic interventions

No systematic exchange of information between regions

Important

ES

Major challenge: coordination at national level

Multi-agent partnerships in local pilot interventions

Established practice before YG in some localities but still a major challenge

Informal channels of information from bottom up

State in centralizing youth unemployment data—Local PES targeting specific groups

Important

EL

As above

Very limited partnerships

Major challenge: experimenting with individually tailored services

Important

SK

As above

Local, collaborative, trust-based relationships

Communities of practice exposed to international experience

In some localities, incubators of learning and innovation

Important

Source: Compiled on the basis of the information provided by the country reports (Turkey is omitted because there is no scheme similar to the YG or dual VET).

Table 6.5 Summary of findings—Apprenticeship Scheme

Changes in governance

Changes in structure and knowledge/pedagogic base of VET

Pathways of policy innovation

“Triple-” or “multi-helix” governance

Flexible learning process—Integrated approach

Intentional learning, experimentation

Policy entrepreneurs

EU influence

Group A countries

DK

Operation Apprenticeship launched by Confederation of Danish Industry

Emphasis on matching skills to needs of industry

Peer-to-peer learning and exchange of knowledge with training institutions and other key stakeholders

Important but also exporters of policies

NL

Coalition of key stakeholders in Amsterdam region—Set vocational training in context of an integrated system of service provision

Cross-regional learning very important

As above

UK

Apprenticeship Trailblazers imply significant shift in design and delivery of VET—New apprenticeship standards

Ongoing policy and peer learning

Little exchange of knowledge with the EU

Group B countries

FR

“Plural governance” of Second Chance Schools

Flexible learning process

Marseille model diffused to other regions/localities

Local policy entrepreneurs mobilized key stakeholders

Important

BE

JEEP program (Jeunes, École, Emploi), a network-based bottom-up initiative in the Forest municipality of Brussels

Diffusion to other municipalities

Important

ES

Different approaches by region

Employers can decide curricula

Individualized learning pathway (Basque region)—Learning across regions

Regional governments—Employers’ associations

Important: Through European Alliance for Apprenticeship and bilateral agreements for cooperation with Germany

EL

Experimentation in tourism sector

Flexibility in course-based training and apprenticeship schedules following seasonality of tourism sector

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and Greek–German Chamber of Industry and Commerce

As above

SK

Experimentation in automotive industry

New apprenticeship standards

Automotive Industry—Key actors drew on experience from other countries

As above

Source: Compiled on the basis of the information provided by the country reports (Turkey is omitted because there is no scheme similar to the YG or dual VET).

Our case studies indicated three foci of innovation for addressing STW transition barriers and difficulties. First is a novel way of governance in policy design and delivery often referred to as a “triple” or “multiple” helix. This involves collaboration between the public administration, professional bodies and education/training providers, employers, youth associations, and other stakeholders interested in employment growth and youth labor market integration. Second is a commitment to the YG through an integrated preventive and proactive approach. (p.181) (p.182) (p.183) (p.184) This combines services and provides comprehensive support, tailored to individual needs. Third is the strengthening of traineeships and apprenticeships, combining school- and work-based learning (dual VET), which are advocated by the European Commission as significant tools for enhancing youth employability, in parallel with the mobilization of employers to play a more active role in this respect.

Experimentation around a raft of policies for a YG is currently particularly visible in the Netherlands. This is illustrated by the case of two regions (Mid-Brabant and Amsterdam), which are implementing a preventive approach to youth unemployment that links the YG and dual training. The initiatives rest on cooperation between multiple agents. In the Amsterdam region, the aim is to embed vocational training in an integrated system of service provision embracing health, housing, family conditions, and labor market integration. The Mid-Brabant Pact is a partnership-based endeavor—signed by major stakeholders—for comprehensive and integrated interventions that are expected to lead to a Youth-Unemployment-Free Zone within 3 years (2015–2018). New policy tools include a youth monitor database linking schools, public employment offices, and local agencies, in addition to an umbrella network of partnerships that is hoped will foster rich, cross-industry learning—if network ties prove to be sustainable. Both cases involve extensive cross-regional learning, as mentioned previously, and introduce a partnership-based mode of policy governance. In this respect, the innovation consists in the “push for cooperation” that yields policy experimentation (Verschraegen, Vanhercke, and Verpoorten 2011).

Danish YG policies linked to dual training and apprenticeships stand out as the blueprint for the EC initiative for a YG. The key feature of this model is an active path that mixes education/training and work-first approaches in the context of holistic interventions that combine profiling the young by education and age—in order to activate them in a given period of time—with coaching, mentoring, and the development of basic skills. Recently, incremental changes have reinforced a path shift from rights to obligations for youth regarding education and employment (Carstensen and Ibsen 2016).

The United Kingdom is another front runner for ALMPs. A marketized logic dominates governance and delivery of policies in this country (e.g., the “payment-by-results” system). The negative aspects of this model, which slows down the coordinated use of knowledge for effective strategies targeting the most disadvantaged youth, were briefly highlighted in Section 6.4.1. These drawbacks are reflected in the persistently high NEET rate and the comparatively high risk of poverty and social exclusion among the young. The significant shift in the governance, design, and delivery of VET sought through the Apprenticeship Trailblazers initiative attempts to mobilize employers to play a central role in this respect (Hadjivassiliou, Swift, and Fohrbeck 2016).

Among Group B countries, initiatives for innovation in Belgium rest mostly with the relatively autonomous authorities (regions and language communities). (p.185) Flanders and the Brussels region take the lead for innovative partnership-based interventions and programs (e.g., the Jeunes, École, Emploi (JEEP) program, which provides guidance on training and job search to students before they leave compulsory education). The YG initiative has triggered some degree of central coordination through a national framework that fosters the use of local administrations’ access to school data to prevent early school leaving, and the development of common conditionality criteria for unemployment benefit provision and of incentives for acquiring information/communication technologies and language skills (the latter are particularly important for labor mobility across language communities) (Martellucci and Lenaerts 2016).

In France, a most significant innovation in policy governance and in the structure and knowledge base of VET is linked with the introduction of Second Chance Schools (E2C) (European Commission 2013; Smith 2016). Their experimental introduction (in Marseille in 1997), institutional recognition, and further diffusion are closely linked with the role of local policy entrepreneurs in mobilizing regional/local stakeholders from the political, economic/corporate, and educational world to get involved in the design and operation of these new vocational education units in the context of a “plural governance.” E2Cs signpost a significant shift in learning methodology from the mainstream qualification-based approach to the acquisition of competences in a flexible learning process that follows the student’s progress. However, as for YG policies, a comprehensive outreach strategy for all young NEETs is lacking, the ability of the local PES (local “missions”) to form partnerships with various local stakeholders is highly variable, and stakeholders’ commitment is often low or ad hoc.

In Greece, Slovakia, and Spain, EU influence on introducing a comprehensive and integrated approach to youth unemployment and the NEETs problem, as well as upgrading and expanding VET, has been important. Nonetheless, interventions along these lines remain fragmented, with little positive effect on outcomes so far. In Spain, overly restrictive rules for participation in the YG program and a technically difficult registration process have excluded many low-skilled unemployed youth. Local partnerships forged with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and with employers’ associations to motivate the young to go to the PES to receive tailored services have been present in successful YG regional/local projects. Experimentation at the regional level aimed at mobilizing business-sector participation in the dual-training environment has been marked (e.g., in the Basque region; González Menéndez et al. 2016).

In Slovakia, experimental local community centers (some of them in the form of social enterprises) were formed by municipalities or by NGOs to support the social inclusion of marginalized social groups under the YG (with an emphasis on Roma youth). These have been inspired by similar organizations in Belgium and Germany through the diffusion of knowledge and expertise by research networks and international NGOs. Equally important are the knowledge and experience accumulated by principal officers in these centers, through (p.186) their previous careers in similar policy settings and the relationships of trust they have helped develop with local agencies. Moreover, the Automotive Industry Association played the role of “policy entrepreneur” in creating the first pilot centers in dual vocational schools in 2002, which instigated a wholesale reform to strengthen dual training (Veselková 2016).

In Greece, a top-down experimental transfer is underway in the context of the German–Greek cooperation for developing dual VET and improving its image. Domestic actors, such as the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels and the Greek–German Chamber of Industry and Commerce, played the role of “pull factors” for external stimuli and created industry-based experimental vocational education schools in order to provide the skills needed in the tourism industry. The initiative is still at an incipient stage. Moreover, there has been very little development of comprehensive and integrated intervention under the YG (Petmesidou and Polyzoidis 2016).

In Turkey, the on-the-job training program operated by the PES shares some similarities with the active path under the YG, given that it seeks to help young people with low skills into available training places. However, there is no in-built integrated and individualized orientation. The system operates in a highly centralized way with little bottom-up or horizontal communication. Despite some recent EU-inspired institutional building (e.g., the Vocational Qualification Authority and the Directorate-General of Lifelong Learning), the absence of cooperation between existing institutions and firms maintains substantive inefficiencies in VET, which is further weakened by an extensive practice of apprenticeships in the informal economy (Gökşen et al. 2016b).

6.5. Conclusions

The hypothesis of a distinction between those countries frequently experimenting with new, proactive youth employment measures (Denmark, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and, to some extent, France) and those exhibiting considerable inertia (mainly Greece and Turkey, but also Belgium, Slovakia, and Spain) is clearly supported by our analysis. This distinction cuts across the typology of STW transition regimes and indicates a more complex picture of differences and similarities within and between regimes, as well as across regions/localities, with regard to policy learning and effective innovation in youth labor markets.

Our analysis shows that the urgency of the youth employment problem in many areas of Europe in the aftermath of the Great Recession led to a swathe of policy responses involving learning, transfer, and experimentation in order to address the complex needs of youth at risk. By drawing upon the main explanatory frameworks of policy learning and transfer, we recorded the following mechanisms of policy learning and innovation: evidence-based incremental changes in policy delivery and policy instruments (e.g., in Denmark and the (p.187) United Kingdom); a “layering” process with new elements being drafted on existing policies and altering their focus (e.g., in the VET field in Denmark); a novel way of governance (multi-actor/multi-agency partnerships) with the potential to trigger a paradigm shift in policy design and implementation in specific regions (e.g., in the Netherlands and less wide-ranging in Belgium and Spain) or in specific policy fields (VET in France, Slovakia, and the United Kingdom); and, finally, the mobilization of policy entrepreneurs (Greece and Slovakia)—mainly under the influence of EU-level initiatives (YG and European Alliance for Apprenticeships)—who introduce and develop new ideas and instruments.

Regarding the pathways of learning, these range from more or less systematic diffusion of policy knowledge among the different levels of administration to peer-to-peer learning (in Group A countries) and weak or absent diffusion channels (in Group B countries). In the latter group of countries, EU influence through conditions linked to program funding, mutual learning activities, country recommendations, or coerced transfer (under the bailout deal for Greece) has had varying degrees of importance.

Notably, devolution of policy functions tends to facilitate learning and experimentation with innovative interventions because local/regional administrations and agencies are more likely to exchange knowledge on policy processes and tools among themselves, as well as get involved in EU-wide mutual policy learning. However, for innovative initiatives to yield results with regard to sustained labor market integration of youth at the national level, a policy environment that is conducive to coordinated sharing and diffusion of knowledge between different levels of administration and joint stakeholders’ bodies is required. In some countries (e.g., Denmark), corporatist governance highly supports systematic bottom-up and top-down learning and policy innovation, leading to significant policy outcomes (namely comparatively low youth unemployment rates and gender disparities). In other countries, fragmented governance and administrative inertia hinder coordinated learning exchange for effective innovation. Poor labor market outcomes in Group B countries partly reflect these conditions.

The following major barriers were identified: Fragmentation and often overlapping competencies among different levels of administration lead to inconsistent cooperation across regions and with other actors, thus slowing innovation diffusion (in Belgium and Spain); overcentralized administrative structures, dominance of fragmented, project-based solutions, and inability to convert such projects into long-term sustainable policies (in Greece and Turkey); and political culture and values (e.g., a strong liberal tradition in the United Kingdom) and party-political expediency (e.g., in Slovakia), which do not favor systematic and coordinated flow of information into high levels of (strategic) policy decision-making. Hence, the improvement of coordination capacities vertically and horizontally among key policy actors is crucial for facilitating the spread of good practices nationwide.

(p.188) Regarding the major foci of policy learning, innovation, and change, these include integrated, personalized interventions of a YG type; the structure, management, and knowledge base of VET as a significant tool for enhancing youth employability; and new forms of policy governance creating scope for regional/local experimentation. In Group A countries with developed vocational education “tracks” (e.g., Denmark and the Netherlands), the main policy challenges that involve learning and innovation concern VET upgrading, feedback mechanisms between VET and the labor market, and multi-actor/multi-agency forms of governance. How to mobilize employers—in collaboration with professional bodies and training providers—in order to reconsider the knowledge base, learning methodology, and delivery of VET and to develop new apprenticeship standards—is a key challenge also in France and the United Kingdom. In Group B countries, learning lessons from other countries’ experience so as to improve the quality and capacity of PES operation is a crucial step toward developing integrated individualized services under the YG. Equally important is drawing experience from across Europe in order to develop robust VET systems and raise their public visibility and attractiveness for young people.

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Notes:

(1) The research inputs of the partner institutions that participated in Work Package 4 of the STYLE project are greatly acknowledged. We truly appreciate the contributions by the following colleagues: Martin B. Carstensen and Christian Lyhne Ibsen (Copenhagen Business School); Kari Hadjivassiliou, Arianna Tassinari, Sam Swift, and Anna Fohrbeck (Institute of Employment Studies, United Kingdom); Sonja Bekker, Marc van der Meer, and Ruud Muffels (Tilburg University); Mark Smith, Maria Laura Toraldo, and Vincent Pasquier (Grenoble École de Management); Marcela Veselková (Slovak Governance Institute); Elisa Martellucci, Gabriele Marconi, and Karolien Lenaerts (Centre for European Policy Studies); and Fatoş Gökşen, Deniz Yükseker, Sinem Kuz, and Ibrahim Öker (Κ‎ο‎ç University). Their analyses of policy learning and innovation in their countries have provided key insights for our comparative approach. Many thanks go also to our colleagues at Democritus University (Periklis Polyzoidis) and the University of Oviedo (Ana M. Guillén, Begoña Cueto, Rodolfo Gutiérrez, Javier Mato, and Aroa Tejero) for their valuable help. For critical comments and substantive suggestions on earlier drafts of the chapter, we thank Nigel Meager and the editors of the book. The usual disclaimer applies.

(2) Accessible at http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1022. There is also a vast literature on innovation patterns regarding the interface between labor market institutions, technological/organizational regimes, and industrial competition. Such research examines innovation in the light of economic theory (e.g., the Schumpeterian view on innovation and entrepreneurship) (p.189) and focuses on the extent to which labor market deregulation and increasing flexibility promote or hamper innovation, productivity, and gross domestic product growth (Kleinknecht, van Schaik, and Zhou 2014). However, this literature is beyond our scope here.

(3) Similarly, the Europeanization literature focusing on change induced by EU policy options (Radaelli 2003) distinguishes between inertia, absorption/accommodation of new elements into domestic policies without significant change in the overall institutional settings, and wholesale changes in policy structures and processes.

(4) Also see European Commission (2014), where Austria, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom are among the countries with comparatively high rates of transitions from short-term unemployment to employment and from temporary to permanent employment (among all working-age groups). The Netherlands is a borderline case with its low transition rates from temporary to permanent employment but comparatively easy returns from short-term unemployment to permanent employment. Greece and Spain are among the worst performers in these two respects. Slovakia also exhibits low rates of return from short-term unemployment to employment.

(5) Turkey shares some similarities with Southern European countries in terms of welfare patterns (Grütjen 2008), but there are significant differences in employment structure. In 2014, approximately one-fifth of the labor force was employed in agriculture (the rates for Italy, Portugal, and Spain ranged between 4% and 5%; in Greece. the share stood at 13%).

(6) Turkey exhibits a much lower level of educational attainment for women, with 45% not having completed primary schooling (Gökşen et al. 2016a). Across EU countries, gender differences in terms of the educational field of study, vocational educational orientation, and the impact of parenthood are crucial for examining labor market entry (Mills and Präg 2014). However, these issues lie outside our scope here.

(7) For a detailed presentation of the country studies, see the Working Papers and Synthesis Reports available at http://www.style-research.eu/publications/working-papers (under Work Package 4).

(8) For a critical discussion of “flexicurity,” see Smith et al. in this volume.