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date: 02 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews changes in employment relations institutions and associated socio-economic outcomes in 25 capitalist countries. It reveals that employment relations are in crisis everywhere. While the form and pattern of institutional changes vary significantly , the trajectory of decline is present in all countries. This is visible in a generalized decline in trade unions’ organizational fortunes, a tendency for collective bargaining to become more differentiated and to accommodate firm-level diversity, and a tendency for peak-level corporatist bargaining to become increasingly concessionary and/or ceremonial A reversal of this decline would require both large-scale changes in the institutional infrastructure of contemporary capitalisms and considerable political will by state actors to rebuild employment relations institutions which capture positive externalities. Given the declining organizational strength of the unions, the crisis of Fordism, and the emergence of alternative accumulation regimes in which employment relations institutions are no longer crucial for the overall stability of the system, this scenario seems improbable.

Keywords: institutions, collective employment relations, convergence, labour decline, corporatist policy-making, post-Fordism

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