Final Workshop of GlobLabWS held at University of Aberdeen

The results of the Globalisation Labour Markets and the Welfare State project of NORFACE Welfare State Futures programme were unveiled at a workshop that brought leading international economists to the University of Aberdeen Business School.

The Globalisation Labour Markets and the Welfare State (GLobLabWS) project explored the future of the welfare state and its role in shaping the relationship between globalisation and labour markets.

Led by Professor Catia Montagna, Jaffrey Chair of Political Economy at the University of Aberdeen Business School, the project focused on the interaction between globalisation and welfare state institutions in determining aggregate economic performance.

Collaborators in the project included the Kiel Institute of the World Economy in Germany and Lund University in Sweden.

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Catia Montagna at GLobLabWS Final Conference

Professor Montagna summed up the results of the GLobLabWS project: “From a scientific perspective, one of the project’s key contributions has been to help bridge the microeconomic and macroeconomic approaches to the study of the welfare state. Just as important are the policy implications of this body of work

The low unemployment figures of recent have hit the headlines, but they hide an increase in low-pay casual employment and in the number of ‘working poors’, with many highly qualified individuals performing low skill tasks.  Yet, the welfare state is portrayed as generating a culture of welfare dependency and, in an age of high public debts and ever growing international competition, it is ultimately seen as unsustainable.

Our work in this project has shown that many of the conventional views characterising current policy debates are based on very narrow theoretical premises that fail to capture the complexity of the processes that characterise the impact of welfare state policies.  We demonstrate the importance of recognising the interaction and self-supporting effects of different areas of policy.

Efficient labour markets do not need to be thin on security. Indeed, our study proves that support for the unemployed, social investment and activation policies – in addition to education and industrial polices – can trigger a virtuous interaction between labour market participation and productivity growth that is essential to a country’s international competitiveness.

The welfare state may be under threat but if this is so, it is because of the way current policy debates are based on narrow theories that fail to capture the complexity of the processes characterising the impact of welfare state policies.”

For more information on GlobLabWS, click here.