Günther Schmid, born in Konstanz, Germany, in 1942. Ph.D. from the Freie Universität Berlin. Professor of Economic Theory of Politics at the Freie Universität Berlin.
Fellow (1 September 2005 – 31 January 2006)
TOWARDS A EUROPEAN SOCIAL MODEL: SOCIAL RISK MANAGEMENT THROUGH TRANSITIONAL LABOUR MARKETS
I worked mainly on a monograph Full Employment in Europe: Managing Labour Market Transitions and Risks. The book offers a threefold extension of current research on ‘full employment’ and transitions in Europe. First, a systematic perspective of risk analysis and a reinterpretation of empirical studies of transition is presented. It draws on former theoretical work of risk analysis in economics and psychology and applies these insights to labour market risks. Second, the book provides a systematic normative analysis of the underlying assumptions of equity and efficiency in the debate about the European social model. It is often implicitly assumed that the contractual theory of justice could be a proper normative foundation of the ‘social’. However, this approach is ethically insensitive regarding the mix of external circumstances and individual choice. Theories of equality of resources, on the other hand, miss the fact that people need different sets of capacities to transform resources into outcomes they value. In addition, most classical theories of justice do not systematically take into account the gender aspect. Therefore, I critically assess modern theories of justice and combine contractual and ethical theories of justice emphasising ‘equality of resources and capabilities.’ Third, the theoretical links (information asymmetries, matching, and segmentation) and the causal relationships between various institutional arrangements of the welfare state in general and labour market policy in particular are developed. The book enriches employment performance analysis through a systematic benchmarking of employment related institutions and policies for selected European Union Member States compared to the USA and Japan.
In addition, I gave five lectures on topics of my book at various places in the Netherlands and abroad, and I attended actively two workshops on “Towards the new welfare state” organized by the Scientific Council to the Dutch Government (WRR) in Den Haag.