Chapter

Belgium: a precursor muddling through?

Johan J. De Deken

in Regulating the Risk of Unemployment

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199592296
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731471 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199592296.003.0006
Belgium: a precursor muddling through?

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The Belgian case is hard to fit in the triple integration framework. The country never knew a dualist two-tiered unemployment benefit system, in need of benefit homogenization. The transition to a service sector economy started early, but did not result in a proliferation of atypical employment. There never was a significant transfer of working-age jobless persons to other working-age benefits, as most were entitled to some kind of unemployment insurance benefit. Even though activation measures propagated, the political dynamics of a central state under devolution prevented an administrative merger, and to some extent even exacerbated institutional fragmentation. Rather than a radical reconfiguration of risks, one can observe a form of institutional layering, whereby the unemployment insurance system is attributed additional functions, such as early retirement to facilitate labour shedding, or career breaks, time credit, and service vouchers to offset the cost disease problems of personal service jobs.

Keywords: Belgium; unemployment insurance; risk reconfiguration; activation; institutional layering; devolution; early retirement; career breaks

Chapter.  9684 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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