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Economic crisis and youth unemployment: Comparing Greece and Ireland

Papadopoulos, Orestis, (2016), “Economic crisis and youth unemployment: Comparing Greece and Ireland”, European Journal of Industrial Relations, 23 February

Both Greece and Ireland have long suffered high youth unemployment rates and have been pressured to restructure their employment and social systems under the European Employment Strategy. Problems were aggravated by the harsh conditions imposed by the Troika following bail-outs. Yet there was significant divergence in youth employment outcomes between Greece and Ireland despite a convergence of policies. In Ireland, tighter conditionality of benefits and stronger ‘activation’ were already on the agenda of the social actors, so their implementation was not forcefully contested. In Greece, the lack of effective social protection made it difficult for successive governments to build support for flexibilization, and the escalating insecurity of young Greeks and their families gave rise to social unrest and political instability. This contrast leads to a reappraisal of the convergence–divergence debate.

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