Journal Article

Structural reforms in Europe and the (in)coherence of institutions

Bruno Amable

in Oxford Review of Economic Policy

Published on behalf of The Oxford Review of Economic Policy Ltd

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 17-39
Published in print January 2009 | ISSN: 0266-903X
Published online January 2009 | e-ISSN: 1460-2121 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxrep/grp001
Structural reforms in Europe and the (in)coherence of institutions

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The aim of this paper is to analyse the consequences of some structural reforms on the institutional coherence of OECD countries, particularly in Continental Europe, and on their economic performance, particularly as regards employment. Because institutions in developed political economies are interrelated through a complex network of complementarities, institutional change has consequences beyond the area concerned in a reform. This also implies that there are complementarity effects in reforms themselves. A challenge of reform programmes is therefore to achieve a new type of complementarity between reformed institutions. The paper presents empirical evidence questioning the compatibility of the ongoing structural reforms in product and labour markets with the existing institutional structures in some OECD countries. The coherence of the flexicurity strategy, i.e. a combination of labour-market flexibility and a generous welfare state, is also questioned, from the point of view of both economic efficiency and political economy.

Keywords: political economy; structural reforms; institutional complementarity; flexicurity; P51; P16; B52

Journal Article.  8385 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth ; Public Economics ; Political Economy ; Public Policy

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