Stefano Sacchi, Federico Pancaldi, Claudia Arisi

Social Protection in Hard Times: Convergence or Enduring Divergence? A Comparative Analysis of Short-Time Work in Austria, Germany and Italy

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Keywords: Short time work; Unemployment compensation; Social protection; Convergence; Path dependence.

In all European countries, emergency policy measures have been introduced in order to counteract the employment consequences of the economic crisis. In the context of variously composed anti-crisis packages, many European countries have used Short-Time Work (STW) schemes, that is measures to subsidize a temporary reduction in working time intended to maintain an employment relationship. This article focuses on the issue whether the economic crisis has spurred any convergence in the use of STW in three social-insurance countries - Austria, Germany and Italy - or whether policy change has rather occurred in a path-dependent fashion. In order to do so, the paper also adopts a systemic approach, focusing on relationships of complementarity or functional substitution and equivalence among the various schemes comprising income maintenance systems to tackle the risks of partial or total unemployment.

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