The European Journal of Comparative Economics
ISSN: 1824-2979
Year: 2012, August. Volume: 9 - Issue: 2

Youth employment in Europe: do institutions and social capital explain better than mainstream economics?

Bruno Contini

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Start page: 247 - End page: 277

EU labor market institutions and LM performance
Why did employment growth - high in the last decade - take place at the expense of young workers mainly, but not only. in the countries of Southern Europe? Youth unemployment is now exceeding 30%, after decades hovering around 20% and over, despite a variety of factors, common to most EU countries, that would be expected to reduce its evolution: population ageing and the demographic decline, low labor cost of young workers, flexibility of working arrangements, higher educational attainment, low unionization of young workers, early retirement practices of workers 50+. But neither seems to provide a convincing explanation for countries of Southern Europe. Historically based institutions and political tradition, cultural values, social capital - factors that go beyond the standard explanation of economic theory - provide a more satisfying interpretation.

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