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The Danish Flexicurity Model - a Lesson for the US? ACES Working Paper No. 2, May 2007

Ilsøe, Anna (2007) The Danish Flexicurity Model - a Lesson for the US? ACES Working Paper No. 2, May 2007. [Working Paper]

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    Within recent years, increasing international competition has caused an increase in job transitions worldwide. Many countries find it difficult to manage these transitions in a way that ensures a match between labour and demand. One of the countries that seem to manage the transitions in a successful way is Denmark, where unemployment has been dropping dramatically over the last decade without a drop in job quality. This success is ascribed the so-called Danish flexicurity model, where an easy access to hiring and firing employees (flexibility) is combined with extensive active and passive labour market policies (security). The Danish results have gained interest not only among other European countries, where unemployment rates remain high, but also in the US, where job loss is often related to lower job quality. It has, however, been subject to much debate both in Europe and in the US, whether or not countries with distinctively different political-economic settings can learn from one another. Some have argued that cultural differences impose barriers to successful policy transfer, whereas others see it as a perfectly rational calculus to introduce 'best practices' from elsewhere. This paper presents a third strategy. Recent literature on policy transfer suggests that successful cross national policy transfer is possible, even across the Atlantic, but that one must be cautious in choosing the form, content and level of the learning process. By analysing and comparing the labour market policies and their settings in Denmark and the US in detail, this paper addresses the question, what and how the US can learn from the Danish model. Where the US and Denmark share a high degree of flexibility, they differ significantly on the level of security. This also means that the Danish budget for active and passive labour market policies is significantly higher than the American, and it seems unlikely that political support for the introduction of Danish levels of security in the US can be established. However, the paper concludes that there is a learning potential between the US and Demnark in the different local level efficiency of the money already spent. A major reason for the Danish success has been the introduction of tailor made initiatives to the single displaced worker and a stronger coordination between local level actors. Both of which are issues, where a lack of efficiency in the implementation of American active labour market policies has been reported.

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    Item Type: Working Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > External relations > EU-US
    Countries > Denmark
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > employment/labour market > labour/labor
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > American Consortium on European Union Studies > ACES Working Papers
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 14:51
    Number of Pages: 40
    Last Modified: 07 Jan 2015 14:51

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