Bernhard Ebbinghaus, J. Timo Weishaupt
Readjusting unemployment protection in Europe: how crises reshape varieties of labour market regimes

Tranfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 2022: 28, issue 2, pp. 181–194
ISSN: 1024-2589 (print), 1996-7284 (online)

The labour movement has long fought for the social protection of unemployed workers as a major social right in capitalist economies across Europe. Employers, on the other hand, have often been reluctant to accept such intervention in the labour market. Hence, scholars explaining differences in the evolution of unemployment benefit systems need to consider the power distribution of labour relations, the context of the welfare state and the variety of capitalism in which they are embedded. This article makes three contributions. First, it offers a heuristic that systematically identifies the analytical affinities between unemployment protection and its institutional context. Second, it offers a succinct overview with a focus on major crises and subsequent adaptations in labour market regimes, ranging from the oil shocks in the 1970s to the Great Recession and the current COVID-19 pandemic. And third, it discusses whether European economies have adjusted their unemployment protection to recent crises and assesses the effects on labour market regimes.