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Contingent Employment in Europe and the United States

Edited by Ola Bergström, Assistant Professor in Business Administration, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University and Donald Storrie, European Foundation (for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions), Ireland
Contingent Employment in Europe and the United States examines the developments in labour markets in advanced economies in the 21st century, as regards contingent employment. This is defined as employment relationships that can be terminated with minimal costs within a predetermined period of time. This includes fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work and self-employment. Contingent employment has been the subject of much legislative activity in the last decade, at both the national and European level. Temporary agency work, in particular, has recently been extensively deregulated in most European countries and currently we await the fate of a proposed EU directive on agency work. The book is therefore highly topical.
Extent: 272 pp
Hardback Price: $146.00 Web: $131.40
Publication Date: 2003
ISBN: 978 1 84376 033 7
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  • Business and Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Labour Policy
Contingent Employment in Europe and the United States examines the developments in labour markets in advanced economies in the 21st century, as regards contingent employment. This is defined as employment relationships that can be terminated with minimal costs within a predetermined period of time. This includes fixed-term contracts, temporary agency work and self-employment. Contingent employment has been the subject of much legislative activity in the last decade, at both the national and European level. Temporary agency work, in particular, has recently been extensively deregulated in most European countries and currently we await the fate of a proposed EU directive on agency work. The book is therefore highly topical.

Using evidence from Germany, Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, the UK and the US, the authors assess the increasing use of contingent employment against the legislative and institutional background in these countries. The European countries represent a wide range of regulatory regimes within the European Union, and comparison with the United States, where contingent employment is least regulated, is a useful feature of the book. Some emphasis is placed on the role of temporary work agencies. This is not only due to recent spate of legislation but also because agency work is the type of contingent employment that grew most rapidly in the last decade, it is a relatively novel form of employment, and has several interesting theoretical features.

The book is aimed at scholars of labour economics and management, and will also be of interest to those practitioners involved in labour markets, primarily policymakers at both the European and national levels.
‘This volume offers a wealth of information and analysis on contingent employment and provides an invaluable resource to scholars, students and policymakers interested in this expanding segment of the labour market.’
– John Shields, Labour/Le Travail

‘Bergström and Storrie are to be praised for what stands as a highly readable, engaging account of the development of temporary work, and also one that breaks new ground. The focus here is not just on profiling national trends, but also on locating them in a broader regulatory context. At a time when even the most passive regulation is derided for undermining “flexibility” and holding back growth, the insights contained in this book are of considerable value. In my view, Contingent Employment in Europe and the United States should be essential reading both for academics and policymakers.’
– Ian Kirkpatrick, Industrial Relations Journal
Contributors: O. Bergström, S. Cam, R. Ellis, D. Glasgow, B. Koene, K. McGlashan, J. Paauwe, M. Pérez Pérez, T. Peuntner, F. Pot, J. Purcell, D. Storrie, S. Tailby
Contents: Preface 1. Introduction 2. Beyond Atypicality 3. Contingent Employment in the UK 4. The Regulation and Growth of Contingent Employment in Sweden 5. Contingent Employment in Spain 6. Contingent Employment in Germany 7. Flexible Employment in the USA 8. Contingent Employment in The Netherlands 9. Conclusions: Contingent Employment in Europe and the Flexibility–Security Trade-off Index