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Here's a short piece on employment, contrasting France and the UK. It's from the left-leaning French economics monthly Alternatives Economiques. No link, I'm afraid, their articles aren't on line. Copyright is obviously theirs. The translation is mine, so disclaimer: I'm not an economist.

Hardly a day goes by without its elogy of the British employment model. Indeed, the British jobless rate of 4.6% (2nd quarter 2004) is enough to make the French dream. Ten years ago, in 1994, the two countries showed similar, poor performance: 12% for France, 9.7% for the UK. So France should be red-faced today.

Not so sure. Over the same ten years, the number of jobs in the UK increased by 11%. In France, by... 14%. That's because of a rise in the number of government employees, reply the free-marketers. Well, no, because the UK is clear ahead of France in this race: since 1997, 45% of newly-created jobs (861,000 out of a total of 1.92 million), are public-sector, while in France, the number of new non-private-sector jobs (including public sector plus ONGs, trade unions, religious bodies) increased by 300,000 during the same period. Doctors, teachers, policemen, nurses... These are the jobs that have been created on the other side of the Channel. <snip> Not surprising, since public services were particularly badly treated by the ultra-free-market governments of the '80s and '90s.

If job creation in France has been superior, how come the unemployment level remains stuck so high, while it keeps going down in Britain? Quite simply because of the increase in the active (working-age) population. The number of job-seekers rose by 12% in France over ten years, as against 6% in the UK. So France needs to create two jobs to Britain's one to bring the unemployment statistics down.

But to confess that a rise in active population might have an effect on unemployment goes against the fundamental free-market assertion: all candidates on the job market will find a job... unless prevented by government interference (minimum wage, constraints on firing, high unemployment benefits).

Denis Clerc, Alternatives Economiques, n° 235, April 2005

This is only a snippet from a long article on employment, with particular reference to France, though there's a similar snippet on the case of Denmark. I'm willing to translate if Colman or anyone else thinks it's worthwhile. Alternatives Economiques can be subscribed to or bought by number at www.alternatives-economiques.fr

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 12:11:51 AM EST
Thank you very much for that. I'd love to read a quick summary of it in English, but I wouldn't dare ask you to do it.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 01:07:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'd like to look at the full article too, but there's no need to translate if it's possible to "make the original available" without violating copyright laws (even other substantial chunks would be of interest).

I really love this kind of "hard-fact-based" analysis.

Hannah K. O'Luthon

by Hannah K OLuthon on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 02:53:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Making the original available is almost the same work for me, since I've got it on paper and would have to type chunks out.

I'll try and do this a bit at a time and post what I've done in this diary.

Wish Alter Eco were on line...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 03:28:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Just do a quick summary of the key points. Please don't spend too much time on it!
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 03:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Given the presence of only a hard copy, I second Colman's suggestion to just hit the high points. So far it's excellent.

Hannah K. O'Luthon
by Hannah K OLuthon on Thu Jun 23rd, 2005 at 04:21:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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