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The Evolution of Employment Structure in France and Japan: a comparison of national trajectories 1992-2002 in a societal perspective

Abstract : For some years now, assessments of labour market insecurity in all OECD countries have been characterised by a certain degree of paradox. On the one hand, empirical assessments broadly agree that the standard stable employment contract – to which the epithet ‘Fordist’ is frequently attached - that used to characterise employment in large private and public-sector companies has been eroded in favour of a proliferation of jobs on the periphery of the labour market. Many observers have also pointed to a weakening of the distinction between internal and external labour markets and to the increasing complexity of workers’ labour market trajectories. These developments go hand in hand with an increase in the number of different forms of employment contract and the emergence of transitional markets providing bridges between different spheres of activity. Each of these phenomena seem to point to a crisis in the ‘wage nexus’ that has been in place for the last half century. Despite the undeniable increase in precariousness and flexibility, particularly over the last decade, there is little to suggest that job instability has become widespread. Several studies have, on the contrary, emphasised the relative stability of employment relationships in all the main industrialised countries, regardless of the statistical indicators used: average seniority, turnover rate, retention rate, etc. The aim of this paper is to show the existence of such a paradox in both France and Japan, despite the differences in the two countries’ economic trajectories in recent years. Above all, however, we will investigate this paradox in the context of the labour institutions at work in the two countries. The concomitance of the relative stability of employment relationships and the flexibilisation of those relationships will emerge as a general trend, but one that takes a particular form in each national context.
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Hiroatsu Nohara. The Evolution of Employment Structure in France and Japan: a comparison of national trajectories 1992-2002 in a societal perspective. 28th International Working Party of Labour Market Segmentation "Employer, union and individual strategies in response to changing national labour markets", Jul 2007, Aix-en-provence, France. ⟨halshs-02928933⟩

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