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Nordic labour markets and the sharing economy

Report from a pilot project

image of Nordic labour markets and the sharing economy

This report presents a preliminary knowledge status about implications of the sharing economy for labour markets and employment relations in the Nordic countries. It also reviews how the Nordic countries and their social partners approach the sharing economy and issues relating, amongst other, to its legality, regulation, taxation, and terms of competition. There is so far scant supply of statistics, data and research in this field. The employment potentials and consequences of the sharing economy will, amongst other, depend on the governments’ and the organized actors’ responses to these challenges. Currently, all the actors seem to be in a phase of knowledge gathering and deliberation of possible policy options, cautiously avoiding taking steps that might obstruct the development of the sharing economy.

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Platform work: implications for employment relations and the broader labour market

Historically, embracing knowledge and new technologies that have been viewed as engines for growth and renewal in the small, open Nordic economies, the organized actors in the Nordic labour regimes have been praised for their joint capacity to cope with change and shape working life developments in ways that have benefitted business as well as workers and the wider society (Dølvik et al. 2014). The Nordic labour markets have thus been renowned for their high levels of employment, organization, collective regulation, trust, and egalitarian distribution of wages and job opportunities. The vast majority of Nordic employees still have open-ended jobs and “standard employment relationships”, but the shares with atypical jobs – in the form of fixed term contracts, part-time, agency work, on-call or self-employment – have showed a slight upward tendency in recent years along with growing outsourcing of work to consultants, subcontractors etc. (ibid; Andersen et al. 2014 ). While the Nordic labour markets recovered well after the crisis in the early 1990s, the years that have passed since the global financial crisis in 2008 have shown more divergent developments. Except in Sweden, the level of unemployment is higher, employment rates have declined, and wage and income inequalities have increased. These developments have come along with declining unionization rates, increased labour migration, low wage competition, and growing shares of youth struggling to gain foothold in the labour market.

English

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