In today’s world, understanding the relations between employers and workers in different national contexts means placing that relationship in the context of global financial and product markets, global production chains, and national and global employment institutions. A new textbook – "Comparative Employment Relations in the Global Economy," edited by Professors Carola Frege of the London School of Economics and John Kelly of Birkbeck, the University of London – does just that.
Eileen Appelbaum and John Schmitt contributed a chapter to this text book that examines Employment Relations and Macroeconomic Performance. The gap that opened up between the U.S. and other wealthy countries in job creation and unemployment has led economists to search for an explanation of this development. The standard explanation builds on the notion that labor market ‘rigidities’ prevent countries from achieving full employment and seeks the causes of variations in the unemployment rate in differences in labor market institutions. Eileen and John find this view unpersuasive. Their review of labor market institutions leads to two main conclusions: first, that constellations of labor market institutions matter, so that there is more than one path to good outcomes; and second, that differences in macroeconomic policies play an important role in determining labor market outcomes.
The book should be an important resource for those in the CEPR family who teach or are students in programs in employment relations, management, political economy, labor policy, industrial and economic sociology, regulation and social policy.