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Searching for the EU Social Dialogue Model

By Richard B. Freeman


The European Union and the United States operate different variants of market capitalism. The EU model uses social dialogue institutions to help determine economic outcomes, particularly in the labor market, whereas the US relies more on market forces. The theory of competitive markets provides a powerful framework for analyzing market driven economies and for assessing the conditions under which unfettered markets yield desirable outcomes. But there is no comparable framework for analyzing institution driven economies. This paper argues that models of efficient bargaining/the Coase Theorem offer the best framework for analyzing social dialogue economies and for identifying policies and institutional reforms to improve their functioning.

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