Towards convergence in Europe. Institutions, labour and industrial relations

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Publication Date 2019
ISBN 9781788978064
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The main original aim of the European Union was to promote convergence towards higher economic growth and social standards. However, EU countries have sometimes experienced different trajectories. This book aims to answer a number of important questions.

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To what extent have European countries converged or diverged with EU-wide economic and social indicators over the past 20 years? What have been the drivers of convergence? Why do some countries lag behind, while others experience continuous upward convergence? Why are these trajectories not always linear? Particular attention is paid to the role of institutions, actors and industrial relations – focusing on the resources and strategies of governments, employers and trade unions – in nudging EU countries onto an upward convergence path.

This book provides a unique analysis of socio-economic indicators to identify convergence trends in the EU. It defines a number of clusters that help to gauge the strengths and weaknesses of national socio-economic models and the European Social Model. Cross-country case studies help to identify the possible impact of global movements (migration, foreign investment) and policies (social protection, social dialogue, employment) on cross-country convergence.


1. Convergence in the EU: what role for industrial relations? | Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead and Rosalia Vazquez-Alvarez
2. Social convergence of the Baltic states within the enlarged EU: is limited social dialogue an impediment? | Jaan Masso, Vladyslav Soloviov, Kerly Espenberg and Inta Mierina
3. Belgium: is strong social concertation a driver of upward social convergence? | Ive Marx
4. Is France converging or not?: the role of industrial relations | Pierre Courtioux and Christine Erhel
5. Does the German social model support the convergence of living conditions in the EU? | Gerhard Bosch
6. Ireland after the Great Recession: convergence or divergence? | Philip J. O’Connell
7. Italy: how could industrial relations help a return to economic and social convergence? | Annamaria Simonazzi, Valerio Ciampa and Luca Villamaina
Case Study – Italy and Slovenia: two paths to labour market flexibility and social dialogue | Branko Bembič and Annamaria Simonazzi
8. The Netherlands: from convergence to divergence in Europe? Social dialogue and industrial relations in the face of household labour supply | Wiemer Salverda
9. Social convergence, development failures and industrial relations: the case of Portugal | Pilar González and António Figueiredo
10. Slovenia: social dialogue and social convergence between coordinated and dependent capitalism | Branko Bembič
11. Economic and social convergence in Spain: the elusive goal of catching up with the EU | Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo
12. Convergence towards better working and living conditions: the crucial role of industrial relations in Sweden | Dominique Anxo
13. The United Kingdom’s record on economic and social convergence with Europe: a pre-Brexit appraisal | Damian Grimshaw

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