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date: 25 November 2020

Abstract and Keywords

A “flexible labor market” has been a central policy objective of British governments for thirty years. In 1992, the OECD defined a “flexible labor market” as one “where employment is little regulated (in terms of pay, working hours, restrictions on dismissal, etc.) the creation of low-paid, part-time, short-term or otherwise non-standard jobs is unconstrained, and there is a high level of job turnover, employers screen less intensively before hiring.” This definition gives the game away; what is being advocated is demand-side flexibility. However, employment segregation suggests supply-side inflexibility. Research on employment discrimination has concentrated on three main areas: wages, success in obtaining jobs, and job classifications. Economists attempt to explain observed differences in wages, success in obtaining jobs, and occupational/job distribution between groups on the basis of age, race, and sex.

Keywords: flexible labor market, supply-side inflexibility, demand-side inflexibility, wages, job classifications, employment segregation, employment discrimination

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