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date: 29 March 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Harry C. Katz and Nick Wailes review some common arguments for employment relations convergence, from the logic of industrialism, to globalization and varieties of capitalism. They find most explanations of convergence overly deterministic, and that empirical evidence tends to support a conclusion of increasing divergence. While they find some convergence across advanced capitalist economies on certain workplace practices (e.g. decentralization), the relative portion of these different workplace patterns (and the role of unions in them) varies considerably as a result of larger institutional differences. They believe that explaining convergent and divergent tendencies requires a less rigid conception of institutions—one that allows for greater degrees of change resulting from the changed preferences and power of key actors such as multinational corporations. The chapter concludes by noting that the recent financial crisis accelerated convergence in the erosion of labour standards, or the ‘low road’ to competitiveness.

Keywords: convergence, varieties of capitalism, institutional complementarity, employment system, internal diversity

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