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A Knowledge Economy Paradigm and its Consequences

Luc Soete

No 2006-001, MERIT Working Papers from United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT)

Abstract: During the 1980s and 1990s "Active labour" market reforms opened up labour markets in Europe, making them more flexible without putting in jeopardy the essence of the social security protection model. Countries that went furthest in such "active labour" market reforms such as the UK, the Scandinavian countries, and the Netherlands witnessed not just reductions in unemployment, but also impressive increases in employment participation rates, particularly among underrepresented groups in the labour market. The challenge today appears more or less similar, but this time with respect to knowledge. Interestingly, it is those EU Member States that have succeeded most in "activating" their labour markets and developing better functioning social welfare models that have performed best in terms of knowledge investments. This suggests, that success in boosting knowledge investment generates the public resources for the development of social welfare models capable of addressing rapid change, and in particular the global changes of the 21st Century.

Keywords: Knowledge; Human Capital; Investment; Social Welfare; Technological Change; Social Change; Globalisation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I38 J61 O15 O31 O38 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2006
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