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Public Sector Shock

The Impact of Policy Retrenchment in Europe Edited by Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead, Senior Economist, International Labour Office, Geneva, Switzerland and Professor, Sciences Po, Paris, France and the University of Geneva, Switzerland
The goal of this volume is to study this ‘public sector shock’. While budgetary reforms seek to ensure a more balanced and sound economic policy, they may generate new work inequalities among public sector employees, most particularly among women, who account for a considerable proportion of public sector employment. Cuts in education and training may also have an impact on the quality of human capital in both the public and private sectors, despite the fact that the recent crisis has shown the value of education as employees with better skills and training are more likely to maintain their jobs and incomes.
In Association with the International Labour Organization
Extent: 656 pp
Hardback Price: $231.00 Web: $207.90
Publication Date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 78195 534 5
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  • Economics and Finance
  • Labour Economics
  • Public Sector Economics
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Economics of Social Policy
  • Labour Policy
After a first series of policy responses to the 2008–09 crisis aimed at sustaining domestic demand through expansionary anti-crisis packages, most European governments – starting with Greece, Ireland, Bulgaria and Romania, and followed by many others – have since put in place a series of restrictive budgetary policies aimed at reducing their budget deficits. With these new policies, a significant number of jobs and wages have been cut in the public sector. A number of expenditure items related to education and training have also been cut. These reforms have given rise to waves of protest throughout Europe.

The goal of this volume is to study this ‘public sector shock’. While budgetary reforms seek to ensure a more balanced and sound economic policy, they may generate new work inequalities among public sector employees, most particularly among women, who account for a considerable proportion of public sector employment. Cuts in education and training may also have an impact on the quality of human capital in both the public and private sectors, despite the fact that the recent crisis has shown the value of education as employees with better skills and training are more likely to maintain their jobs and incomes.

The authors explore a number of questions, including: what types of reform have been implemented in the public sector and what are their implications in both the short and long term? On the economic side, what will be the impact on wages, and on job quantity and quality? On the social side, what will the effects be on inequality and social cohesion? And what will be the outcome for, and potential role of, social partners and social dialogue?

On the basis of a comparative and comprehensive assessment, illustrated by case studies in education, health and public administration, policy issues are discussed with the aim of finding the right mix of public sector reforms.
‘This is a very timely volume as Europe begins to reevaluate the enthusiasm its leaders have shown for austerity as a response to economic and fiscal crisis.’
– P. K. Kresl, Choice

‘This is a fascinating, rich and comprehensive analytical account of the causes and consequences of austerity measures affecting the public sector in terms of pay and employment. The editors have assembled a broad array of contributions that really reflect the diversity within Europe, both in terms of how deep the financial crisis hit, and the drivers of public sector reforms. An absorbing and thought-provoking read.’
– Jacqueline O’Reilly, University of Brighton, UK
Contributors: S. Altwicker-Hámori, J.-I. Antón, D. Anxo, G. Bosch, K. Espenberg, V. Franičević, J. Gautié, D. Grimshaw, J. Köllő, J. Masso, T. Matković, Y. Monogios, R. Muñoz de Bustillo, P. O’Connell, H. Rato, J. Rubery, W. Salverda, Z. Tzannatos, V. Vasile, D. Vaughan-Whitehead
Contents:

Foreword
Guy Ryder

1. Public Sector Shock in Europe: Between Structural Reforms and Quantitative Adjustment
Daniel Vaughan-Whitehead

2. Public Sector Adjustment and the Threat to Gender Equality
Jill Rubery

3. Early Application of Fiscal Austerity Measures in the Baltic States
Jaan Masso and Kerly Espenberg

4. Croatia: Public Sector Adaptation and its Impact on Working Conditions
Vojmir Franičević and Teo Matković

5. France: The Public Service under Pressure
Jérôme Gautié

6. Public Sector Adjustments in Germany: From Cooperative to Competitive Federalism
Gerhard Bosch

7. Public Sector Adjustment Amidst Structural Adjustment in Greece: Subordinate, Spasmodic and Sporadic
Zafiris Tzannatos and Yannis Monogios

8. Hungary: Public Sector Labour Market from Crisis to Crisis
Szilvia Altwicker-Hámori and János Köllő

9. Cautious Adjustment in a Context of Economic Collapse: The Public Sector in the Irish Crises
Philip O’Connell

10. The Netherlands: Wage Cuts No Longer a Constructive Option
Wiemer Salverda

11. Portugal: Structural Reforms Interrupted by Austerity
Helena Rato

12. Romania: A Country Under Permanent Public Sector Reform
Valentina Vasile

13. Those Were the Days, My Friend: The Public Sector and the Economic Crisis in Spain
Rafael Muñoz de Bustillo and José-Ignacio Antón

14. Early Fiscal Consolidation and Negotiated Flexibility in Sweden: A Fair Way Out of the Crisis?
Dominique Anxo

15. Austerity, Privatization and Levelling Down: Public Sector Reforms in the United Kingdom
Damian Grimshaw

Index