Globalization and Labor Market Impact on Switzerland
Globalization is the combination of the global economies in respect to trade (Weder & Wyss, 2010). The main factors in globalization include; advanced telecommunication and transport, posterity in Internet and rise of the telegraph. Globalization has been helpful to the modern international business because it facilitates the flow of goods, individuals and capital across the world. Additionally, it boosts the flow of information across countries’ boundaries. Further, it improves the flow of production factors and commodities across countries. Globalization has increased knowledge, integration of businesses and the flow of foreign currency overtime (Weder & Wyss, 2010). However, the problem with globalization occurs when individuals fail to manage it (Temin, 1999). Various scholars argue that globalization has negative effects on diverse segments of the country, such as unskilled labor (Weder & Wyss, 2010, Felbermayr, Prat & Schmerer, 2011). This is because technological growth and competition calls for a skilled workforce in most industries. Firms reduce wages, expect more from workers, and lessen the production process. In addition, there are arguments that globalization makes states to deregulate their labor markets in order to gain from both the foreign and the local investors. This is achieved through deregulating employment, minimum wage rate and unemployment payback. Competition strain among industries increase, and trade is liberalized at the expense of labor market deregulation and employees (Felbermayr, Prat & Schmerer, 2011).
However, globalization has direct effects on wages and employment (Wood, 1998). Wood (1998) further points out that globalization has various impacts, such as openness to business activity on the influence of labor market and its institutions that affects wages and employment. Nevertheless, institutions of labor markets vary across the world. In the Anglo- Saxon nations, labor markets have less regulation, for example in states like Canada, the United States (U.S.), United Kingdom (U.K.) and New Zealand. However, they are more regulated in Finland and Norway. In the low-income nations, restrictions by the government are as important as the industrialized states because shared bargaining and unions are not essential (Weder & Wyss, 2010).
According to Guerra, Patuelli and Maggi (2012), the economy of Switzerland has a good number of productive workers. Its labor market is described by light touch legislation, liberal regulation and outstanding social solidity. Conflicts for labor are solved through productive relations between the management, the staff and the workforce. The organization of social insurance for employees has its foundation on the values of individual accountability and solidarity. High wages attract quality staff and employers benefit from competition in labor costs due to low security deductions. Switzerland has more than six million employed people, whereby two million are women. The rate of participation of the labor force is 68.2%, being one of the highest in the entire European region. 35% of these staff are part-timers. Additionally, 58% are female and 15% of male work part-time. Over the previous 10 years, the state has had extremely low unemployment rate of between 1% and 4% (Guerra, Patuelli & Maggi, 2012). Additionally, unemployment patterns of the low skilled changes with levels of qualification attributed to globalization, technology and migration (Weder & Wyss, 2010). Therefore, this examines globalization and its impact on labor market in Switzerland. This is because the rate of unemployment in Switzerland increased more quickly over the last two decades as compared to the other OECD nations.
The Impact of Globalization on the Labor Market in Switzerland
Evolution of Globalization
Historically, globalization started with the first movement of individuals out of Africa into other regions of the world (Tudorescu, Zaharia & Zaharia, 2009). Travelling and migration have enabled individuals take other people’s ideas, products and customs. Melding and adaptation of exterior effects are found in various facets of human life. The issue of globalization has homogenizing effects on different national cultures. Its pressure causes nations to be more similar and meet in business activities, economic and political systems and artistic attitudes. Currently, globalization is facing authenticity crisis that has been recounting in the past (Tudorescu, Zaharia & Zaharia, 2009). It entails increased interrogation of international markets and has waned throughout history. It thrived in the mid of the nineteenth century and the First World War. The increased global trade for services, goods and production factors like labor and capital constitute to globalization. Economists have hyped the merits of open capital markets, free trade and global movement in production and allotment of the global resources (Baylis, Smith & Owens, 2013).
According to Baylis, Smith & Owens (2013), globalization is disputably a trend shaping modern economic development to a large degree. After identifying the combined impact of globalization, evolutionary economy provides an approach into the architectonics of the modern economy. However, institutional economy holds that man is not only a living creature with the ability to store surplus and live in a complex society controlled by chiefs but has a unique capacity to socially redistribute the surplus by increasing complex division of labor under the state authority. Baylis, Smith & Owens (2013) further points out that globalization has unbound characteristics with surges in growth and productivity unparallel in history as technology, markets and states are progressively freed from the local demand and supply constraints. Although the issue of globalization has gained fame recently, there are forces that drive this trend and can be traced back at the end of the mid of European ages.
Ancient society was defined by decentralization and localism and the majority of people remained at their place of birth throughout their lives. Migration was the only way to resettle the virgin land to respond to the invasion, local demographic pressure and disaster. Religious knowledge was restricted to the local community with wide pilgrimages narrow to choose a few. Empires had most of their military on land and never entered global with the exemption of North Africa adjacent to the Mediterranean region. State governments were led by coalition of monarchs and local elites had access to the central administrative machinery.
The near universal poverty became a structural constraint on demand and markets were the neighboring trading places with the long distance trade limited to luxury goods for the small powerful elites. Information, new thoughts and technical knowhow extended slowly because the infrastructure was based on animal traction. Various phases started in the nineteenth century, including passing the pre-modern localism, improving the maritime technology that led to the great age of maritime exploration, mercantilism and discovery. In addition, there were the centralizing tendencies associated with monarchies and the European renaissance and the emergence of modern states that followed the peace of Westphalia of 1648 and the spread of ideals of the French and the American revolutions from the nineteenth century.
The second stage from the late eighteenth century was manifested by inanimate traction, human technology, demand and productivity that led to mass production and conveyance of goods and people, cross border corporation through hefty long distance trade, investment flows, colonial plunder and empire during the European expansion that followed the trade across the world. Industrial revolution opened up rapidly and widened income in America, Europe and other parts of the world on each other by forming agreements like the WTO and IMF.
Globalization and its Impact on Labor Markets
The public perceive globalization with a mixture of feelings. Individuals concur that clients gain from trade, but are at the same time highly concerned with the issue of job security. Fueled by several headlines about layoffs and outsourcing, individuals are afraid that globalization worsens their labor market perspective. To a positive extent, economic theory can reduce this panic (Timmer & Williams, 1998). Workers who lose their employment due to the trade liberalization have to go through the time of active exploration before getting another job. During this time of evolution, job reallocations augment the amount of pressure in the labor market, which automatically heightens the unemployment rate. Nevertheless, relatively little information is available about the long-run result of trade liberalization on rate of unemployment. This is mainly because theories of equilibrium of business and labor are still inadequately integrated (Timmer & Williams, 1998).
According to Spence (2011), individuals are mainly concerned about globalization impact on the allocation of income and wages in developed nations. Globalization can harm low skilled employees (Spence, 2011). Once skilled personnel are in a position to compete with the unskilled workforce, their salaries converge leading to low wages. Trade or immigration causes the rising rate of competition. Based on the economic theory, globalization leads to changes in price, spending, production but vary because of mobility and technology. Rise in business activities of products manufactured with comparatively high proportions of meticulous factor cause decrease in price of the factor and improve its use. Expanded trade between developed and less developed countries lowers remuneration of the unskilled or less skilled workers and rise wage disparity. Trade can affect the rate of wages and the quantity of each group of labor wage rates do not only capture low demands for less-skilled personnel because minimum wages and other wage rigidities thwart income from declining and lead to great fall in employment. Developed countries do business with less developed nations, thereby affecting labor markets through increased unemployment at fewer skills and generate the increase in the differences in the wage rate between the skilled and the unskilled work force (Spence, 2011).
Wage difference is caused by various factors like education and factors of production. An analysis of rigid categories of labor capitulate misleading results about variations in wages shows that positive effects of labor occur because of the increased capacity of developing nations to create new opportunities to work and produce following the mitigation of the misrepresentations in price with respect to both capital and labor (Spence, 2011). Additionally, foreign direct investment (FDI) has either direct or indirect impact on the creation of employment in the recipient nations (Spence, 2011). The size and the type of investment, technology and the capability of the host state to master the imported knowledge and adapt to its requirements determine this. FDI also indirectly affects employment through vertical links of transnational companies, whereby there are spillovers in technology, education, training and science.
According to (Blossfeld et al., 2012), there are various negative impact of globalization on labor markets. They occur because of large-scale developments in technology that accompany the phenomenon. Globalization reduces the demand for the skilled manpower because FDI does not care for the cheap workers but look for the highly skilled workforce. The traditional nature of work might disappear because of rapid changes in technology, and at the same time, creates new innovative and creative occupations in favor of the specialized jobs. Increasing the hidden unemployment, deterioration of real wage rates and lack of openings for new jobs are impacts of globalization in developing economies with the inability to adapt to new technologies. However, the labor clause enforced through the WTO negatively affects the growth of the economy and employment in various developing nations (Spence, 2011). Spence (2011) further points out that countries with child labor cause working conditions for employees to be miserable.
Theories of Labor Markets
There are various theories associated with labor markets. Most of them explain about the concept of wage and unemployment differentials (Meade, 2013). Some of them include;
1. The Classical Theory
In classical economics, unemployment is considered to obstruct smooth functioning of labor markets (Meade, 2013). According to the classical approach, market forces are resolute by the forces of demand and supply. Labor market is considered a single and a stationary market characterized by spot transactions, perfect competition and organizations for double auction bidding. The only means that involuntary unemployment can be present within an economy is when something gets in the way of the market forces. This might be a legal minimum wage. The wage only affects a part of workforce, especially people who are less skilled, such as the teenagers. According to the classical theory, market interference leads to unemployment. Unemployment affects people of all wage levels. The economy can provide less than the optimal number of jobs due to the following:
• Labor-related regulations like the mandated benefits, firings, restrictions on layoffs and safety regulations. Activities of labor union augment the cost of production labor causing them to turn towards labor saving technologies, thereby reducing job growth.
• Public policies like unemployment and insurance reduce employment. These cause people to be less willing to work.
• Regulations on business practices reduce their growth. This confines growth for labor demand.
Therefore, the classical point of view tends to aim at getting rid of common programs and policies seen to obstruct the appropriate market behavior. Such proposals in the labor market presume that the nation works best under the theory of laissez- faire (Meade, 2013).
2. Job Search and Labor Turnover Theory
Characteristics of a job can affect an employee turnover through the effect of utility and outside job opportunities (Direnzo & Greenhaus, 2011). Job-quit choices relate to wage dynamics and job fulfillment. Job search theory involves probability to quit the job because of the current characteristics of the job. The efficiency of a worker in a specialized job is known better as the worker’s job tenure increases. Turnover occurs because of the existence of non-degenerate distribution of workers productivity across dissimilar jobs. This is caused by variations in the excellence of the match amid the employee and the employer. In any homogeneous group, negative correlation between job tenure and separation probability occurs because individuals with a low propensity to change of jobs will have longer job tenure and vice versa. In addition, young people, women and production workers as well as workers in the private sector tend to turnover more than those workers covered by pension plans and those in industries with lower concentration ratios or with a small average farm size (Direnzo & Greenhaus, 2011). None of the above relationship is stronger like that between separation probabilities and job tenure.
3. Contract Theory
Bolton and Dewatripont (2005) points out that most of the economic relationships are contractual in that parties negotiate and agree on matters of shared interests and intent for the enforcement of their agreement. This is because during enforcement, there are outside parties not part of the contract at hand together with the contracting parties. A contract explains how people and business organizations develop and enter into legal contracts. Contract theory examines how the parties to an agreement make choices under some conditions and when there is systematic information, it looks at the principles of economic and financial behaviors because they have different inducements to carry out actions or not. Contracts can be incentives to promote certain outcomes and contain a level of moral hazard that stem from a distance between an agent and the principle (Bolton & Dewatripont, 2005).
Globalization and Labor Market Outcomes
Globalization and the Rise in Labor Market Inequalities
According to Wood (1998), increased demand for skilled workforce in developed countries leads to a decrease in demand for the unskilled. The gap between the unskilled and the skilled staff continues to widen, which coincides with the rapid globalization. This creates barriers to international economic transactions between the developed and developing nations (Wood, 1998). Wood (1998) further argues that an increase in income created by the rise in employment of skilled employees gradually shifts the supply curve of education by lessening of the budget constraints of the governments and the households. This increases supply of the skilled labor and shifts its demand curve creating needs and opportunities to employ more skilled workers through externalities and induce skills using technology (Wood, 1998). For instance, in the 19th and the 20th centuries, immigration of skilled workers in the United States (U.S.) raised the relative wage of manual workers, which fell during the First World War (Wood, 1998). However, the wage of the college graduates declined sharply in 1940s and increased again in 1960s before another decline in 1970s. This was caused by a surge in supply. Over the past three decades, another surge followed because of the upward deviations from the secular wage trend by the increasing growth of skilled workers (Wood, 1998).
Wood (1998) further argue that various individuals consider globalization to negatively impact the performance of the labor markets and labor market institutions, but there are gains from specialization in accordance with the comparative advantage and trade benefits. Influence of globalization on labor market institutions is mixed because institutions of labor market differ across various nations. The effects of globalization-induced labor markets receive attention in the public and scientific debate because of the wide consequences for efficiency as well as perceived social justice (Wood, 1998). When thinking dynamically, in terms of deceleration and acceleration of secular increasing trends in relative demand and supply for the skilled labor rather than comparatively static diagrams, globalization affects trade-creating inequalities in the labor market. Therefore, the rise in relative demand for skilled labor causing labor marker inequalities for the first three decades has been caused by globalization (Wood, 1998).
Globalization and Impact on Labor Market Deregulation
The transformative nature of globalization influences labor markets outcomes like employment, remunerations and labor market institutions (Potrafke, 2010). According to Wood (1998), globalization affects wages and employment in various ways just like the labor market institutions. Globalization pressures the labor market institutions through two channels (Wood, 1998). To begin with, mobility of capital elicits the re-allocation of resources that trade integration amplifies away from the highly unionized sector. Second, there are threats of expensive allocations that encourage deregulation in the labor market. Labor markets erode with globalization because investors and shareholders choose on where to situate their firms and make investments (Potrafke, 2010). Due to the nature of capital mobility, shareholders have the bargaining power, which is amplified by trade liberalization. The regulatory support of the labor market operations has become endogenous because governments deregulate them fearing they might invest in other countries (Potrafke, 2010).
According to Potrafke (2013), global mobility of capital influence regulation within the labor market and predicts that institutions for labor market are not scaled down in times of globalization. Politically active groups determine the direction of globalization in responding to the set policies. Capital owners and workers lobby the government on the minimum wage legislation (Potrafke, 2013). However, as employees become more important than capital owners, labor market deregulation occurs. Additionally, other nations have different labor market institutions because of disparities in the national political processes. Trade liberalization pressures the best choice of a labor market institution within a country. Open countries have more liberal benefits of replacement rates of unemployment. Domestic clients are free to purchase merchandise from the foreign firms (Potrafke, 2013).
Governments have policies, such as the changing replacement rates of unemployment to benefits through a change of import and export prices (Potrafke, 2013). Through this, replacement rates of unemployment benefits increase domestic unemployment. This reduces supply of the local products in relation to the foreign products. Changes in terms of trade make domestic economy improve while worsening the foreign economy. Improving terms of trade allows domestic economy to effectively discharge part of cost of higher benefit rates to foreign employees (Potrafke, 2013). Because of the reliance on the foreign demand for exports by open countries, they benefit by provision of more generous unemployment benefit replacement rates. However, Potrafke (2013) points out that globalization expand the size of the government. As people receive compensation against risks when their economies are more exposed to global economic forces, governments raise broader safety measures. Therefore, globalization has a low likelihood to erode labor markets because voters are willing to pay higher premiums and preserve these institutions that provide insurance.
Labor Market Effects on the OECD states and Developing Asia
Kirkegaard (2007) analyses an Indian IT (Information Technology) industry, whereby majority of the production is in the local Indian companies compared to the foreign firms. This shows how private investors have played a big role to maneuver in the IT sector. However, increase in service trade and related skill chauvinism in support of extremely skilled labor force could have irregular opportunities for employment in Asia (Kirkegaard, 2007). Some highly skilled groups gain and will persistently gain radically from the new employment opportunities and the rising levels of wages. This bias in skills eliminates many employment opportunities from both the low skilled group and the unskilled within the region. Therefore, developing countries within Asia face future double challenges in education, and there is a need to improve both the primary and higher education standards (Kirkegaard, 2007).
According to Kirkegaard (2007), global sourcing, global supply chain management, off shoring, delocalization and product transfer have disturbing impacts on employment, and have led to extensive concerns amongst several groups of persons. This forces entrepreneurs and consultants frame the debate to promote own interests and fuel public anxiety. In addition, direct employment affects production relocation (Kirkegaard, 2007). Off shoring and outsourcing have little impact on OECD country-labor markets. Potential destination countries in developing Asia lack a huge inflow of jobs. Allowing a significant more labor-intensive production in the recipient nations makes the number of jobs in the terminated countries of origin go low. The entire cost of saving from off shoring and offshore outsourcing decisions come from wage differentials and there is a labor limit on the labor-intensive low-wage-destination country’s production to become a home country of production while representing profitable decisions of the business. A large number of staff in the low wage destination cost can make the country raise the cost of wages (Kirkegaard, 2007).
Globalization and the Impact on Switzerland’s Labor Market-low skilled
Globalization is changing demand and supply of labor market in Switzerland (Wyss & Weder, 2010). This happens because it leads to an increase in employees’ competition, increasing pressure of working conditions and wages making flanking measures necessary. Wyss and Weder (2010) further points out that globalization facilitate free movement of individuals within the European Union (EU). Switzerland policy making is restricted by the increased international connections of economies, political systems and societies that have been prevailing in the last 25 years. It also entails convergence of policies towards neo-liberalism at the end of a distinctive national path of policy development (Wyss & Weder, 2010). Therefore, deregulation and the standard neo-liberal strategy of adapting to globalization encounter force several institutional obstacles in Switzerland making the option non-feasible. The country is also well equipped with institutions that ease adaptation to and survival in the international community (Wyss & Weder, 2010). In addition, globalization does not simply impend on policies that make but also an opportunity for policy innovation that give the Swiss government a room to maneuver.
According to Wyss & Weder (2010), globalization is the increase in the integration of economies with respect to the trade of goods and services. To promote industrialization in a country, it should specialize on activities with high proportion of high-skilled workers (Wyss & Weder, 2010). In Switzerland, there is an increased pressure for the low skilled workforce (Wyss & Weder, 2010). Additionally, there is deterioration in the labor market situation of the low skilled workers. The fact that low-skilled workforce compared to the high skilled in the developed nations increasingly come under pressure is not an unknown phenomenon (Wyss & Weder, 2010). The so-called Stolper-Samuelson theorem based on global trade theory implies that globalization in countries with relatively good human capital endowment can lead to an increase in the wage disparity by professional qualifications (Wyss & Weder, 2010). If one compares the change in wage disparity by qualification with the difference in the unemployment rate by qualification, the relative labor market situation of the low skilled in Switzerland has primarily deteriorated leading to unemployment. Wyss and Weder (2010) points out that the median gross income of the low skilled to high skilled has changed between 1991 and 2007 with an average annual rate of 0.2%. The rate of unemployment of low- to high–skilled increased significantly to an average of 3.5% per year (Wyss & Weder, 2010).
However, import competition from emerging countries plays a significant role as it displaces some occupations directly or indirectly through automation or outsourcing. There is a positive relationship between globalization and the relative as well as absolute worsening situation for low-skilled workers in Switzerland. The results of the micro-econometric analysis for the years 1991-2008 in Wyss (2010) suggest that import competition in Swiss industry is no central driving force behind the relative and absolute worse position of the low skilled in terms of unemployment. This is a surprising result because it is true that import competition has a positive influence on the risk of unemployment for low-skilled workers. However, once numerous explanatory variables are taken into account, it shows that the impact of import competition on the risk of unemployment of low-skilled workers is statistically not enough evidence to say that import competition is a key variable to explain unemployment risk of low-skilled workers.
In the short to medium term, the increasing unemployment among low skilled, which is currently about one-fifth of the Swiss population pose a serious challenge to the Swiss society? Comparatively, the political economy and increasing economic research arrived at a conclusion that success is sturdily dependent on institutional milieu of economic activity (Wyss & Weder, 2010). There are various institutions in the country of great importance because they reduce extra expenditure of production, increased use of human capital and create reliability and certainty of the national economic cycle. Such institutions enhance Switzerland’s ability to cope up with external challenges like globalization. However, in equalizing policymaking, globalization has the probability to bring about more policies assortment within OECD nations.
Globalization boosts the flow of information across national boundaries as well as improving the flow of production factors and commodities across countries (Wyss &Weder, 2010). This study examines globalization and its impact on the labor market in Switzerland. It further looks at various theories about labor markets, rise in labor market inequalities and the impact of the labor market deregulation. Globalization has various effects on international outsourcing and product relocation on OECD nations (Kirkegaard, 2007). It changes both the demand and supply of labor market in Switzerland (Sousa-Poza & Sousa-Poza, 2007). This happens because it leads to an increase in employees’ competition, increasing pressure of working conditions and wages making flanking measures necessary. The high level of unemployment in the region can be controlled by providing employees benefits rather than importing employees. The government of Switzerland should also ensure it trains its employees to cope up with the globalization challenge and ensuring that the country’s labor market copes up with the changing world. However, further research need to be conducted because of changes brought about by globalization in various sectors of the economy. This might include an investigation of globalization impact on public education, provided that it negatively affects low-skilled employees. In addition, the reaction of the state towards globalization needs further examination.
Hypothetical predictions about employment outcomes on liberalization of trade are based on the supposition of optimum employment of resources and elasticity of labor markets. These postulations might not be factual in developing countries where labor markets are rigid due to structural factors (Lambin & Meyfroidt, 2011). There is an extensive concern that globalization has a negative influence on the performance of labor market and erodes its institutions. Globalization and labor market vary among countries. Individual aspects of globalization influence labor market institutions, employment and wages. Induced effects of globalization differ across regions. In the Scandinavian nations, globalization does not erode the labor market institutions. Capital market deregulation and the concepts of labor market deregulation materialize more slowly because capital is always more mobile than labor. Governments take advantage of foreign investors, thereby regulating capital markets instead of labor markets.
Switzerland policy making is restricted by the increased global connections of economies, political systems and societies. The dialogue about globalization creates a new opportunity for reformers, which can be used in many ways. However, in equalizing policymaking, globalization has the likelihood to bring about more policies and assortment in the group of OECD nations. Domesticated factors like government strategies are key determinants of nature of the institutions of labor market and their deregulation procedure in OECD nations more than globalization.
However, studies have been conducted about the negative impact of globalization towards unskilled and the low skilled labor force within the OECD countries. Therefore, more research need to be conducted about the positive impact of globalization, which will address examine the following research questions;
• How does globalization contribute in the reduction of economic poverty?
• How does globalization foster economic growth?
• How does globalization improve the living standards of nationals with the country?
• How does globalization maintain low rates of inflation?
This will enable governments across the world to boost and reform their education curriculum to be in line with the international standards and produce employees who are globally competitive. This will ensure that countries do not be using expatriate workers, thereby creating employment opportunities for their citizens.
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