nep-hme New Economics Papers
on Heterodox Microeconomics
Issue of 2011‒06‒04
24 papers chosen by
Frederic S. Lee
University of Missouri-Kansas City

  1. La création d'entreprise au féminin en Europe 2011 - Eléments comparatifs By Viviane De Beaufort
  2. The educational aspirations of children of immigrants in Italy By Alessandra Minello; Nicola Barban
  3. Youth Employment in Europe: Institutions and Social Capital Explain Better than Mainstream Economics By Bruno Contini
  4. NEVERTHELESS ATTRACTING… Italy and Immigration in Times of Crisis By Ferruccio Pastore; Claudia Villosio
  5. Varieties of Mathematics in Economics- A Partial View By K. Vela Velupillai; Shu G. Wang
  6. The Algorithmic Revolution in the Social Sciences: Mathematical Economics, Game Theory and Statistical Inference By K. Vela Velupillai
  7. To the Beat of Different Drumer....Freedom, Anarchy and Conformism in Research By K. Vela Velupillai
  8. Computation in Economics By K. Vela Velupillai; Stefano Zambelli
  9. New welfare policy instruments: international experiences and implications for social enterprises By Margherita Scarlato
  10. La tutela dell'occupazione nelle cooperative di lavoro: strumenti e motivazioni. Analisi di un gruppo di cooperative ravennati By Cecilia Navarra
  11. Il sistema di imprese della cooperazione sociale. Origini e sviluppo dei consorzi di cooperative sociali By Carlo Borzaga; Alberto Ianes
  12. Capital formation in new cooperatives in China: policy and practice By Li Zhao
  13. Cooperative credit network: advantages and challenges in italian cooperative credit banks By Mitja Stefancic
  14. The Impact of the New York State Retail Milk Price Regulation on Farm-to-Retail Price Transmission and Supermarket Pricing Strategies in Metropolitan Fluid Milk Markets By Bolotova, Yuliya; Novakovic, Andrew
  15. Survey evidence on wage and price setting in Estonia By Aurelijus Dabušinskas; Tairi Rõõm
  16. "Income Distribution in a Monetary Economy: A Ricardo-Keynes Synthesis" By Nazim Kadri Ekinci
  17. Social Influence and Household Decision-Making: A Behavioural Analysis of Housing Demand By Baddeley, M.
  18. Dynamics of Evolution in the Global Fuel-Ethanol Industry By Chan, J.H.; Reiner, D.
  19. Schumpeter and the essence of profit By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  20. What is wrong with heterodox economics? Kalecki’s profit theory as an example By Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
  21. Analyzing the Relationship Between Poverty and Work: Exploring ways to solve the problem of the working poor (Japanese) By HIGUCHI Yoshio; ISHII Kayoko; SATO Kazuma
  22. Work-Life Balance in Sweden: Working in a flexible and autonomous manner (Japanese) By TAKAHASHI Mieko
  23. Efficiency Considerations in Merger Regulation (Japanese) By KAWAHAMA Noboru; TAKEDA Kuninobu
  24. WLB in the UK: Present situation and challenges for national and corporate initiatives, suggestions for Japan (Japanese) By YAJIMA Yoko

  1. By: Viviane De Beaufort (Public and Private Policy Department - ESSEC Business School)
    Abstract: Servir de révélateur aux différentes dimensions de la création d'entreprises au féminin, tel est l'objectif de cette étude comparative qui intégrant une dimension de genre tente d'appréhender la question à échelle de l'Europe avec davantage de développements sur le contexte français particulièrement exemplaire. L'entreprenariat féminin est partout un réservoir de croissance insuffisamment exploité. Il s'agit alors de cerner les motivations des femmes qui créent ou reprennent une entreprise et leurs spécificités éventuelles, les particularités des modèles d'entreprises " au féminin 3 (taille, service, mode de développement). Et également les obstacles à cette dynamique. Dans quelle mesure sont ils particuliers ? Quelles mesures d'accompagnement spécifiques faut-il, dés lors, continuer à développer ?
    Keywords: entreprenariat au féminin ; approche en Europe ; approche comparée
    Date: 2011–05–01
  2. By: Alessandra Minello; Nicola Barban
    Abstract: The general aim of this paper is to investigate the educational aspirations of the children of immigrants living in Italy and attending the last year of primary school (8th grade). We look at the educational aspirations both as a predictor of educational choice and as a measure of social integration. We consider both secondary school track and university aspirations as indicators of educational preferences in the short and long run. Data have been collected during the 2005-2006 school year and they come from the ITAGEN survey: the first Italian nation-wide extensive survey on children with at least one foreign-born parent. First, we analyze association between aspirations and structural characteristics (e.g. migration status and country of origin) and social aspects such as family socioeconomic status, and friendship ties. These aspects seem to be determinants in defining both short and long time aspirations, while long-term aspirations are not associated with migration status. Second, we investigate the relevance of context in delineating educational aspirations. To develop this second aspect we perform multilevel analysis that takes into account both individual and school level variables. Our hypothesis, confirmed both for short and long aspirations, is that attending a school where most of the Italian pupils have high educational aspirations may lead children of immigrants to enhance their own aspirations.
    Keywords: educational aspirations, immigrant integration, ITAGEN, friendship ties, scholastic context
    Date: 2011–05
  3. By: Bruno Contini
    Abstract: Why did employment growth - high in the last decade– take place at the expense of young workers in the countries of Central and Southern Europe ? This is the question addressed in this paper. Youth unemployment has approached or exceeded 20% despite a variety of factors, common to most EU countries. According to neo-classical economics all would be expected to exert a positive impact on its evolution: population ageing and the demographic decline, low labor cost of young workers, flexibility of working arrangements, higher educational attainment, low unionization of young workers, early retirement practices of workers 50+. But neither seems to provide a convincing explanation. Historically based institutions and political tradition, cultural values, social capital – factors that go beyond the standard explanation of economic theory – provide a more satisfying interpretation.
    Date: 2010
  4. By: Ferruccio Pastore; Claudia Villosio
    Date: 2011
  5. By: K. Vela Velupillai; Shu G. Wang
    Abstract: Real analysis, founded on the Zermelo-Fraenkel axioms, buttressed by the axiom of choice, is the dominant variety of mathematics utilized in the formalization of economic theory. The accident of history that led to this dominance is not inevitable, especially in an age when the digital computer seems to be ubiquitous in research, teaching and learning. At least three other varieties of mathematics, each underpinned by its own mathematical logic, have come to be used in the formalization of mathematics in more recent years. To set theory, model theory, proof theory and recursion theory correspond, roughly speaking, real analysis, non-standard analysis, constructive analysis and computable analysis. These other varieties, we claim, are more consistent with the intrinsic nature and ontology of economic concepts. In this paper we discuss aspects of the way real analysis dominates the mathematical formalization of economic theory and the prospects for overcoming this dominance.
    Date: 2010
  6. By: K. Vela Velupillai
    Abstract: The digital and information technology revolutions are based on algorithmic mathematics in many of their alternative forms. Algorithmic mathematics per se is not necessarily underpinned by the digital or the discrete only; analogue traditions of algorithmic mathematics have a noble pedigree, even in economics. Constructive mathematics of any variety, computability theory and non-standard analysis are intrinsically algorithmic at their foundations. Economic theory, game theory and mathematical finance theory, at many of their frontiers, appear to have embraced the digital and information technology revolutions via strong adherences to experimental, behavioural and so-called computational aspects of their domains - without, however, adapting the mathematical formalisms of their theoretical structures. Recent advances in mathematical economics, game theory, probability theory and statistics suggest that an algorithmic revolution in the social sciences is in the making. In this paper I try to trace the origins of the emergence of this revolution and suggest, via examples in mathematical economics, game theory and the foundations of statistics, where the common elements are and how they may define new frontiers of research and visions. Essentially, the conclusion is that the algorithmic social sciences are unified by an underpinning in Diophantine Decision Problems as their paradigmatic framework
    Keywords: Algorithmic Economics, Algorithmic Game Theory, Algorithmic Statistics, Algorithmic Social Science
    Date: 2010
  7. By: K. Vela Velupillai
    Abstract: In this paper I attempt to make a case for promoting the courage of rebels within the citadels of orthodoxy in academic research environments. Wicksell in Macroeconomics, Brouwer in the Foundations of Mathematics,Turing in Computability Theory, Sraffa in the Theories of Value and Distribution are, in my own fields of research, paradigmatic examples of rebels, adventurers and non-conformists of the highest calibre in scientific research within University environments. In what sense, and how, can such rebels, adventurers and nonconformists be fostered in the current University research environment dominated by the cult of picking winners? This is the motivational question lying behind the historical outlines of the work of Wicksell, Brouwer, Hilbert, Bishop, Veronese, Gödel, Turing and Sraffa that I describe in this paper. The debate between freedom in research and teaching and the naked imposition of correct thinking, on potential dissenters of the mind, is of serious concern in this age of austerity of material facilities. It is a debate that has occupied some the finest minds working at the deepest levels of foundational issues in mathematics, metamathematics and economic theory. By making some of the issues explicit, I hope it is possible to encourage dissenters to remain courageous in the face of current dogmas.
    Keywords: Non-conformist research, macroeconomics, foundations of mathematics, intuitionism, constructivism, formalism, Hilbertís Dogma, Hilbertís Program, computability theory
    Date: 2010
  8. By: K. Vela Velupillai; Stefano Zambelli
    Abstract: This is an attempt at a succinct survey, from methodological and epistemological perspectives, of the burgeoning, apparently unstructured, field of what is often – misleadingly – referred to as computational economics. We identify and characterise four frontier research fields, encompassing both micro and macro aspects of economic theory, where machine computation play crucial roles in formal modelling exercises: algorithmic behavioural economics, computable general equilibrium theory, agent based computational economics and computable economics. In some senses these four research frontiers raise, without resolving, many interesting methodological and epistemological issues in economic theorising in (alternative) mathematical modes
    Keywords: Classical Behavioural Economics, Computable General Equilibrium theory, Agent Based Economics, Computable Economics, Computability, Constructivity, Numerical Analysis
    Date: 2010
  9. By: Margherita Scarlato
    Abstract: In this paper recent approaches to the role of social protection systems within economic development policies are discussed. Important experiences are considered, in particular those implemented in medium and low income countries, where new tools for increasing the effectiveness of social and development policies have been tried and tested. Some lessons are also examined that prove useful for defining mechanisms that enhance the quality of services provided by social enterprises in the Italian context.
    Keywords: social protection system, development policy, social enterprise
    JEL: O22 I38 L31
    Date: 2010
  10. By: Cecilia Navarra
    Abstract: Le cooperative di lavoro italiane tendenzialmente accumulano un’elevata quota dei profitti nelle riserve indivisibili, un fondo indisponibile e inappropriabile da parte dei soci. La ricerca indaga le ragioni di questa pratica, dopo aver discusso le interpretazioni più frequentemente utilizzate. L’ipotesi che viene formulata è che le riserve indivisibili giochino un importante ruolo nella tutela della stabilità dell’occupazione nelle cooperative. Questa può infatti essere ottenuta in due modi: tramite la fluttuazione dei salari, oppure mediante l’accumulazione di un fondo “assicurativo”, che permetta di affrontare i momenti di difficoltà garantendo sia la stabilità del numero di occupati, sia quella delle loro remunerazioni. L’argomento viene poi esteso per includere due ulteriori componenti: la prospettiva di lungo periodo del rapporto tra il socio e la cooperativa, e la percezione da parte del socio stesso di senso di appartenenza verso quest’ultima. All’elaborazione teorica si affiancano i risultati di uno studio di caso condotto presso le cooperative della Legacoop di Ravenna, che utilizza sia dati a livello di impresa, sia dati raccolti tramite un’indagine presso i lavoratori.
    JEL: J54 P13 D23 D92
    Date: 2010
  11. By: Carlo Borzaga; Alberto Ianes
    Abstract: Il saggio si propone di studiare la struttura organizzativa, cioè l’integrazione tra imprese sviluppata dalla cooperazione sociale in Italia nel corso dei suoi trent’anni di storia. Accanto a una rappresentanza politico-sindacale il movimento della cooperazione sociale ha sentito il bisogno di integrarsi in un sistema consortile organizzato su più livelli. Per espletare al meglio i propri compiti, infatti, le cooperative sociali si avvalgono del Consorzio, un soggetto imprenditoriale che quasi mai opera nella parte finale della filiera, raramente si colloca sul mercato dei servizi finiti, preferisce stare nel mezzo: per produrre servizi alle imprese. L’articolo evidenzia infine l’evoluzione del ruolo del sistema consortile: da un compito di tipo promozionale e politico-sindacale si è passati ad uno più mirato. Il consorzio tende a svolgere un numero minore di funzioni, e sempre più specifiche, soprattutto per rafforzare il profilo imprenditoriale delle cooperative sociali e della rete nel suo complesso.
    Keywords: Social enterprises, Business history, Italian cooperatives, Networks
    JEL: N24 N84 P13 L31 L14
    Date: 2011
  12. By: Li Zhao
    Abstract: This paper aims to fill one knowledge gap on understanding the issue of capital formation in new co-operatives in developing countries. By doing so, it presents the main findings of capital formation and investment in a small sample of horticulture shareholding co-operatives in rural China, because shareholding co-operatives, as one best example of new multi-stakeholder co-operatives in China, have become a vehicle to mobilize additional resources. To better understand shareholder co-operatives’ stakeholder heterogeneity, two main groups of stakeholders are identified, namely, member stakeholders (investor-members and patron-members) and non-member stakeholders (non-member investors and non-member donors/grant-givers). Following a brief theoretical overview concerning co-operative multi-stakeholdership and capital acquisition and constraints, I then analyze both the rules-in-form and rules-in-use with respect to the co-operative stakeholders’ capital involvement in China. Cases observed indicate a hybridization feature of the co-operative capital base, including member contributions, public subsidies, income from the market sale, institutional capital and social capital. There exist at least four ways to raise equity capital from co-operative members. External capital comes mostly from direct government support in the form of grants and project funding, and indirect financial support through preferential treatment and policies. Different from the situation in the West, debt capital does not appear to be a widely-used traditional financing source. New co-operatives in China have difficulty even in borrowing short-term debt, not to mention receiving long-term loans. Also specialized/non-traditional external capital sources such as those provided by co-operative banks do not suffice. Co-operative banks are not always ready to provide micro-credit to co-operatives. Only when the government plays an active role, this lending process is facilitated. Many innovative financial systems are also observed in the field, which facilitate the mobilization of more external capital for co-operatives.
    Keywords: Capital Formation, Co-operative, Multi-stakeholder, China
    JEL: H44 K29 O13 P13 P26 Q13 Q18
    Date: 2011
  13. By: Mitja Stefancic
    Abstract: This paper provides an outline of both the competitive advantages and challenges currently faced by Italian cooperative credit banks. These banks play an important role for the stability of the financial system at the level of regions. They provide credit to individuals and households, as well as capital to SMEs. Italian cooperative credit banks are integrated into a distinct sui generis network, which grants them an adequate level of competitiveness in the; and Visiting PhD student market. By effectively implementing democratic principles of governance and by focusing on retail banking, these banks foster responsible behaviour, which is crucial in times of crisis. This paper suggests that a better understanding of their specifics highlights their contribution to sound cooperation in economics. Finally, the paper provides policy recommendations for a qualitative supervision of cooperative credit banks to further increase the stability of the cooperative credit network and, thus, of the Italian financial system.
    Keywords: Italian cooperative credit network, competitive advantages; governance, challenges
    JEL: G21 G28 P13
    Date: 2011
  14. By: Bolotova, Yuliya; Novakovic, Andrew
    Abstract: The New York State Milk Price Gouging Law establishes that the retail prices of fluid milk products are not to exceed 200% of the prices that NYS milk processors py for Class I milk. The enforcement of this law significantly affected the nature of the Class I fluid milk price transmission process and the milk pricing strategies of supermarkets in the five largest cities in New York State: New York City, Albany, Syracuse, Buffalo and Rochester. During the pre-law period, supermarkets used a retail price-stabilization strategy, as evidenced by asymmetric Class I fluid milk price transmission. In contrast, supermarkets use a retail profit stabilization strategy during the law period. This variation of retail milk price control actually creates an institutional environment that facilitates cooperative conduct of supermarkets, acting in an oligopolistic market environment, which caused greater instability in retail milk prices. Differences in the competitive environments of each city impact the effects of the statewide law.
    Keywords: dairy, milk, price regulation, price transmission, asymmetric price response, food retailing, Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Demand and Price Analysis, Industrial Organization, Marketing, Q11, Q13, Q18,
    Date: 2011
  15. By: Aurelijus Dabušinskas; Tairi Rõõm
    Abstract: In this paper, we give a comprehensive overview of wage and price adjustment practices in Estonia, drawing from two managerial surveys which were conducted in autumn 2007 and summer 2009 within the framework of the Wage Dynamics Network (WDN), a joint research project by the Eurosystem/ESCB. Our discussion covers a broad range of results, including firm-level descriptive evidence for several institutional and structural characteristics of the Estonian economy such as unionisation and collective bargaining coverage, labour intensity of production, remuneration methods, product market competition, etc., and insights into the wage and price setting behaviour of Estonian firms. To illustrate this behaviour, we give an overview of the frequency and timing of wage and price changes; the extent of downward nominal and real wage rigidity; the determinants of wages paid to newly employed workers; and finally, the nature of firms\' adjustments to cost push and negative demand shocks
    Keywords: survey data, wage setting, price setting, Estonia
    JEL: E3 J3
    Date: 2011–05–27
  16. By: Nazim Kadri Ekinci
    Abstract: The paper provides a novel theory of income distribution and achieves an integration of monetary and value theories along Ricardian lines, extended to a monetary production economy as understood by Keynes. In a monetary economy, capital is a fund that must be maintained. This idea is captured in the circuit of capital as first defined by Marx. We introduce the circuit of fixed capital; this circuit is closed when the present value of prospective returns from employing it is equal to its supply price. In a steady-growth equilibrium with nominal wages and interest rates given, the equation that closes the circuit of fixed capital can be solved for prices, implying a definitive income distribution. Accordingly, the imputation for fixed capital costs is equivalent to that of a money contract of equal length, which is the payment per period that will repay the cost of the fixed asset, together with interest. It follows that if capital assets remain in use for a period longer than is required to amortize them, their earnings beyond that period have an element of pure rent.
    Keywords: Income Distribution; Circuits of Capital; Monetary Economy
    JEL: D33 D46 E11 E12 E25
    Date: 2011–05
  17. By: Baddeley, M.
    Abstract: Housing markets are subject to many interrelated sources of instability on both a microeconomic and macroeconomic scale. Housing decisions of different individuals will be interdependent, generating non-linearities, discontinuities and feedback effects. This paper focuses in on some behavioural factors that contribute to complexity in housing demand. In particular, the impact of herding and social influence is captured using a model incorporating the impact of social information on willingness to pay. This model is tested in an experimental context and this experimental evidence confirms first, that social information has a statistically significant impact and, second, this impact is determined by a person’s individual characteristics including gender and personality traits.
    JEL: D70 D83 D85 R21
    Date: 2011–01–31
  18. By: Chan, J.H.; Reiner, D.
    Abstract: We employ a value chain analysis approach to examine the forces shaping the industry structure, entry and inter-firm governance modes. Forty largest global and regional companies in the ethanol manufacturing stage have been classified according to their pre-entry industry of origin. Firms with pre-entry history in feedstock supply have shown higher resilient to market shock especially compared to de novo firms. In addition, we observe a trend of dual-directional vertical integration. Firms backward integrate to secure feedstock supply; firms forward integrate to gain access to the retail market. Security of feedstock has been identified as a critical success factor of the manufacturer in this resource intensive industry. Another critical success factor is gaining control over the end user market via forward integration. We propose that critical success factor is the important determinants of inter-firm governance mode.
    JEL: L11 L70 N5 Q42
    Date: 2011–03–23
  19. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: Schumpeter had a clear vision of the developing economy, but he did not formalize it. The quest for a germane formal basis is in the following guided by the general question: what is the minimum set of foundational propositions for a consistent reconstruction of the evolving money economy? We start with three structural axioms. The claim of generality entails that it should be possible to free Schumpeter’s approach from its irksomeWalrasian legacy and to give a consistent formal account of the elementary circular flow that served him as a backdrop for the analysis of the entrepreneur-driven market system.
    Keywords: New framework of concepts; Structure-centric; Axiom set; Profit; Money; Credit; Structural stress; Catching-up process; Monopoly
    JEL: E25 E30 E10 E40 B41
    Date: 2011–05–29
  20. By: Kakarot-Handtke, Egmont
    Abstract: Kalecki’s profit theory has always been popular among heterodox economist as an alternative approach to solve the paradox of monetary profits. In the present paper his formula ‘The workers spend what they get, the capitalists get what they spend’ is scrutinized for its logical and factual implications. The analysis shows that Kalecki’s alternative approach points in the right direction but unfortunately shares a crucial conceptual error with standard economics.
    Keywords: National income accounting; Zero profit economy; Distributed profit; Income definition; Master equation
    JEL: E12 E25 B22 B50 B41
    Date: 2011–05–18
  21. By: HIGUCHI Yoshio; ISHII Kayoko; SATO Kazuma
    Abstract: International comparison analyses have clarified that the relative poverty rate among working households in Japan is high. Based on this fact, this study analyzed the relationship between poverty and work, using the Keio Household Panel Survey 2004-2010 (KHPS). Our study showed that households where the head of the household is working as a temporary worker have a higher probability of being in poverty than households where the head of the household is unemployed and not engaged in any other income-earning activity. However, concerning the poverty dynamic, households where the head of the household is working in any capacity including temporary work are more likely to exit from poverty than households where the head of the household is not working. Needless to say, households where the head of the household is working as a regular worker have the least probability of falling into poverty, and shifting from temporary work to regular work is an effective solution for the working poor. Because of this fact, our study also analyzed the probability of shifting from temporary workers to regular workers. Results for women showed that those who invest in self-development are more likely to make the shift from temporary workers to regular workers; accordingly, investing in human capital—for instance, in the form of self-training—is important for making this shift. Moreover, among the unemployed who are in poverty, those receiving unemployment benefits and investing in job-training are more likely to get out from poverty than those not eligible for unemployment benefits. This implies that it is necessary to build a support system for those who are not eligible for unemployment benefits.
    Date: 2011–04
  22. By: TAKAHASHI Mieko
    Abstract: The main aim of this paper is to study to what extent a work-life balance (WLB) policy has been implemented in Sweden and to analyze the strategy that the country has put into practice, as the country—from a comparative perspective—is considered to be one of the leaders in this context. A review of the process for implementing such policy in Sweden shows that a WLB policy has been promoted from an egalitarian gender ideology for almost four decades.<br /><br />Comparing a quantitative data set collected from a survey of private companies in five countries, namely, Japan, Sweden, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Germany, I find that the Swedish WLB policy at the company level is also promoted (based upon the egalitarian gender ideology) to a higher extent compared to the other four countries. <br /><br />Using case studies on the WLB of employees at private Swedish companies, I examine their "capability" and subjective states of efficacy to make claims for a well-balanced working life. Gender egalitarianism in terms of individuals' roles as workers and parents is legitimated and practiced at the workplace level and societal level. It has resulted in a high level of workplace flexibility and diversity. Therefore, both women and men feel entitled to make claims for a well-balanced life. The Swedish experience explicitly shows a mechanism that enables individuals to have a flexible working and work-life balance. Moreover, throughout the empirical analyses, I find two key concepts characterizing workplace management and working conditions in Sweden, i.e. "autonomy and individual responsibility" and "mutual trust."
    Date: 2011–03
  23. By: KAWAHAMA Noboru; TAKEDA Kuninobu
    Abstract: How is merger-generating efficiency dealt with in antitrust regulation? The Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) presents a consumer welfare standard, which focuses on the change of consumer welfare in evaluating efficiency. Guidelines of U.S. antitrust law and those of EU competition law support this standard as well, and the experience in Canadian competition law reveals the difficulty of applying a total welfare standard. In this paper, we examine the possibility of convergence between market power analysis and efficiency consideration under the consumer welfare standard. Based upon that, we propose a modified consumer welfare standard, under which welfare can be traded off among consumers.
    Date: 2011–03
  24. By: YAJIMA Yoko
    Abstract: In this paper, we develop a sense of the present situation and challenges of work-life balance (WLB) policies, corporate initiatives, and the workplace environment from the perspective of workers in the UK, and we carry out a comparison analysis with initiatives in Japan. Further, the analysis in this paper is a summary based on the results of a questionnaire survey of workers in Japan and the UK, a survey of the literature, and the results of local interview surveys in the UK.<br /><br />The UK resembles Japan in the sense that problems with long working hours and employment disparities based on stereotyped perceptions of gender roles form the background to the start of WLB initiatives to encourage flexible working styles. There are also commonalities in the sense that the emphasis is basically on encouraging independent initiatives by demonstrating the advantages of WLB initiatives for corporations, even though legislation to strengthen the rights of workers to choose flexible work patterns has been introduced in part. In contrast to Japan, where the initiatives commenced in 2007, those in the UK started in 2000, and from the perspectives of the government, corporations and the labor unions, certain outcomes and issues have been identified with regard to WLB initiatives. Based on awareness at the institutions concerned and changes in the social environment indicated by statistical data, this paper compiles the present state of the initiatives, outcomes and issues in the UK, and presents suggestions for Japan. In addition, by analyzing the worker questionnaires, we also indicate differences and commonalities between Japan and the UK in the choice of work patterns made by men and women with children. In particular, in the context of stereotyped gender roles in the home even in the midst of options for flexible working styles, the analysis focuses on the impact on workplace productivity, the ease of running the workplace, and differences in perceptions between the UK and Japan with regard to the "Short working hours" style of working where the proportion of use by women is high.
    Date: 2011–03

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