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Path-Dependency or Convergence? The Emergence of Labour Market Institutions in the Media Production Industries of the UK and Germany


Baumann,  Arne
Projekte von Gastwissenschaftlern und Postdoc-Stipendiaten, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Baumann, A. (2003). Path-Dependency or Convergence? The Emergence of Labour Market Institutions in the Media Production Industries of the UK and Germany. PhD Thesis, European University Institute, Florence.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0012-50C7-E
This study compares labour market institutions and their emergence in the media production industries of Great Britain and Germany. The two principal institutions examined are vocational education and training patterns on the one hand and recruitment channels on the other hand. The former manage the labour market entry at the start of an individual's career while the latter govern the repeated labour market transactions between company and employee that occur throughout an individual's career. The comparison of these institutions in the two industries is based on novel labour market data for both companies' and individuals' training and employment behaviour in Germany and the UK. On a theoretical level, the comparison analyses dynamics of institutional formation and contributes to the literature on varieties of capitalism and socio-economic institutions. The examination of labour market institutions in the media industries of two countries that are generally classified as belonging to opposite types of market economy allows us to study dynamics of institutional reproduction and change. In order to map difference and similarity in institutional formation, the comparative research design is organised along two institutional variables, job titles and joint supply, and three potential causal mechanisms for institutional development, technological, societal and hierarchical embeddedness. Job titles and joint supply are constituent parts of an occupational labour market and represent different types of social norms, namely conventional and essential norms. The three types of embeddedness encapsulate environmental spheres that expose actors to different forces, deemed important for institutional development in the existing literature. Important results emerge with respect to the adequacy of training regimes in the media industry, marked by short-term employment and project production in both the UK and Germany. The British industry's further training regime emerges as superior to the German dual system of initial training in light of the large freelance workforce in both countries. With respect to institutional formation processes, the main counter-intuitive outcomes are that job titles in the German industry resemble those of its British counterpart, and that the British industry has arrived at a comprehensive joint supply regime. Contrary to predictions of the literature on varieties of capitalism, institutional dynamics on the industry level can thus deviate from their respective national parents. The cases show that institutional formation varies not primarily with differences in the national institutional set-up but with the type of institution and the uncertainty of actors in arriving at and legitimising such an institution. The less distributive the character of an institution, and the less actors need to legitimise an enforcement regime, the more independent of national institutions they become in their efforts to arrive at an institution.