Facing Inequalities: Internal-External Labour Market Interplay

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 11:45 AM
Room: 419
Distributed Paper
Renata SEMENZA , Department of Social and Political Science, University of Milan, Milan, Italy
Facing Inequalities: Internal-External Labour Market Interplay

 From the theoretical perspective the paper aims to revisit the traditional theory of labour market segmentation and its key model based on insiders-outsiders divide. The development of a new paradigm supported by original empirical evidence of an increased interdependency and competition between external and internal labour markets is proposed.

More than forty years later we reconsider the relevance of Internal labour market theory (Doeringer, Piore 1971) from a contemporary perspective. The strategic use of core-periphery has shifted towards market-mediated employment relationships and affects indifferently high and low-skilled sectors.

This issue is part of the wider socio-economic debate on inequality associated to labour and ranking and sorting process in labour markets (Granovetter, Tilly 1988).

Many European countries have undertaken reforms in order to increase flexibility. From this perspective the framing refined by Varieties of Capitalism (VoC) literature has been evolving, as companies situated in different countries -facing the global competition-  seem to be adopting similar employment practices.

Recent studies (Herrmann 2008) showed the ways by which firms can compete circumvent pragmatically their own rigidities though functional equivalent practices, by using nonstandard contracts or importing the required skills from international labour markets. Firms seem to be doing what their institutional contexts do not encourage.

We consider new forms of division and distribution of labour between firm-based and market-based labour force and their social implications, from the key point that skills and competences are crucial factors of productivity and competitiveness.

Following Streeck’s contemporary Durkheimian interpretation that “economic efficiency is to an extent conditional on the effective enforcement of social constraints” (Streeck 1997) we aim to better understand if there is a sort of collective awareness of the reduced social value of work or if, in alternative, companies are implementing new and still unclear  cost-effectiveness strategies.