The Decline in the Standard Employment Contract: Evidence from Ten Advanced Industrial Countries
AFTER THE STANDARD CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT: INNOVATIONS FOR REGULATORY DESIGN, Katherine V.W. Stone and Harry Arthurs, eds., Russell Sage Foundation Press, 2013
36 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012
Date Written: 2012
There has been a great deal written about change in the nature of employment in advanced industrialized countries over the past two decades, but the economic data to substantiate this claim have been contradictory and/or ambiguous. Some analysts contend that the existing data show little or no change in job longevity or incidence of temporary work, thereby casting doubt on the claim that the standard contract of employment has eroded. This article examines the best available data from ten advanced industrial countries -- Australia, Japan, United States, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom and France. It looks at three of specific aspects of the standard employment contract: the growth of nonstandard employment, the decline in job tenure, and the decline in union density and collective bargaining coverage. Overall, the data reveal changes in national labor markets consistent with the thesis that there has been a decline in standard employment practices. In particular, they show an increase in many forms of nonstandard employment in Europe, Japan, and Australia. In the United States, the trajectory concerning nonstandard employment is less clearly demonstrated due to definitional issues that are discussed. Nonetheless, the U.S. data reveal a significant increase in nonstandard employment amongst mid-career and older workers. The data also show a marked pattern of decline in union density and collective bargaining coverage in all the countries studied.
Keywords: employment contracts, growth of nonstandard employment, labor markets
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