Autonomous bargaining in the shadow of the law
From an enabling towards a disabling state?
in Making work more equal

Although trade union organising is important, income inequality cannot be reduced without additional support from the state. The distinction between protective and participative standards is used as analytical framework to examine their respective effects on income inequality under the wage setting systems of seven EU-countries. It is shown that the ‘shadow of the law’ hangs over collective bargaining in all seven countries. As an ‘enabling state’, the Swedish state has acted to compensate for the unions’ structural inferiority by establishing strong participative labour standards. The counter-example is Greece where, at the behest of the ‘institutions’, the state was able in no time at all to rip out the few anchors that had kept the collective bargaining system in place over the previous 20 years.

Making work more equal

A new labour market segmentation approach


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