The politics of unemployment policy in an age of austerity: France in comparative perspective

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The diversity of European responses to unemployment has increased since
2008. On the basis of an analysis of French labour market and employment policies since 2008, with a particular focus on the policy output under the Hollande presidency since 2012, this article argues that France has maintained a distinctive mix of labour market policies. Although in some respects France’s pattern of labour market segmentation aligns it with what has been defined as a classic Mediterranean model, the Eurozone crisis has led to greater divergence between France and other countries in the Mediterranean cluster. Rather, France is one of several outliers in the continental economies that are undergoing distinctive dualizing processes of transition. Thus although the distinction between liberal market and coordinated market economies remains valid, there is evidence of converging pressures and trends (such as, at a very general level, deregulation and a search for bargained ‘flexicurity’) while at the same time multiple patterns of domestic change are at work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)193–217
Number of pages25
JournalFrench Politics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014


  • unemployment; labour market policy; active labour market policies; Varieties of Capitalism; adjustment regimes


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