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date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Until the mid-1990s, there was a strong consensus in both the academic and the policy literature on occupational skills around two key points. First, the creation of skills depended heavily on the existence of institutions that could overcome the tendency to free riding and poaching otherwise endemic among employers of labor in a market economy. Second, the maintenance of strong levels of good-quality employment in wealthy countries depended on high levels of skill in the workforce. From the perspective of the early years of the twenty-first century both beliefs seem less certain. Within a few years the consensus may have changed again, and it is the responsibility of academic commentators to try to look beyond the present and anticipate likely change. This is attempted in this article. This article also appraises the two components of the earlier consensus and their growing uncertainty.

Keywords: consensus, policy literature, occupational skills, market economy, good-quality employment

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