The proposed project provides new knowledge about what practical impact social regulation provisions have on the employment opportunities and prospects of youth belonging to ethnic minorities and persons with disabilities. This analysis will take into account the effects of existing redistributive arrangements and possible synergies or incompatibilities between regulatory and redistributive provisions (Hvinden & Halvorsen 2003; Hvinden 2009, 2010). By comparing national policies in Nordic welfare states (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), the project will clarify the strengths and weaknesses of existing approaches and the scope for policy exchange and learning across country-borders with purpose of ensuring labour market inclusion of the two underrepresented groups.
First, the project examines cross-national similarities and differences in the detailed design of the social regulatory and redistributive provisions of relevance for the labour market inclusion of the two groups and the ways and extent to which these provisions are implemented, including the mechanisms for supervising, monitoring and enforcing compliance with the relevant provisions (Year 1).
Second, the project reviews available cross-national evidence about how relevant public agencies interact with potential or actual employers and how employers respond. The issues here are how employers respond and adjust to legal provisions and available public provisions for financial support for compensating for reduced productivity (e.g. wage subsidies or tax deductions) or covering costs related to accommodation in the workplace (e.g. special on-the-job training, introduction or language course, technical adjustments of work situations, etc). On the basis of this review, the project team will in each of the participating countries undertake informant interviews with staff in the relevant agencies and a sample of employers to fill in missing or insufficient information on these issues (Year 2).
Third, the project team reviews existing studies and reanalyze existing national statistical data about trends in the employment rates of the two underrepresented groups (Year 1), giving special emphasis to possible changes in employment rates after the introduction or major amendments of social regulation provisions (while taking into account the impact of other contextual factors like business cycle variations, significant changes in relevant redistributive provisions or strictness of employment protection legislation, etc) (Year 2).