Takashi Oshio, Seiichi Inagaki, 26 September 2014

Starting one’s working life in an irregular job can lead to a fruitful career or to long-term stagnation. While studies of European labour markets support the stepping-stone hypothesis, this column presents evidence that irregular jobs lead to negative midlife outcomes in Japan. Future jobs are less stable, pay less, and psychological distress is higher. Such problems suggest a role for policy to reduce economic and social disadvantages of non-regular workers.

Giovanni Ganelli, 15 January 2014

The third arrow of Abenomics aims at reviving growth in Japan. This column presents research showing that revamping Japan’s dual labour markets to increase productivity should be an important component of the growth strategy. An increase in the level of employment protection of regular workers tends to increase duality, while an increase in the protection of temporary workers has the opposite effect. Reducing the difference in the employment protection would help to reduce the labour-market duality, and reducing the duality results in a higher growth. This would lead to a decrease in unemployment, and could help to exit deflation.

Samuel Bentolila, Tito Boeri, Pierre Cahuc, 12 July 2010

Many economists across Europe agree on the need for labour market reform. In this column economists from France, Italy, and Spain argue that while the reforms of the 1980s increased flexibility, they also led to a two-tier system with ultra-secure permanent workers and vulnerable temporary workers – increasing unemployment in the downturn. In order to complete the reform path, governments should fight dualism by making job security provisions increase smoothly as workers acquire tenure.

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