Economic globalization, welfare state transformation as well as political and social change on national and supranational level impact on national labor markets in advanced societies in complex ways. From a gender perspective, these dynamics of change entail deregulation as well as re-regulation of employment systems and at the same time are triggered by shifts in gender relations. Addressing this complexity poses challenges to scholarly research com- paring employment systems and systemizing cross-national variations of labor market re- gimes which tend to neglect gender relations as a relevant factor of change. This context sets the framework for our question on how ongoing changes in employment systems and in gender relations are taken up in recent scholarship. We focus on three approaches promi- nent in the mainstream scholarly debate which address the current state of employment sys- tems in advanced economies in comparative perspective spanning from political economy to micro economics and economic sociology, namely the Varieties of Capitalism (VOC) approach (Hall/Soskice 2001), Marsden’s micro-economic theory of employment systems (1999) and Fligstein’s work ‘The architecture of markets’ (2001). The approaches differ in the assignment of agency (to firms, employees and the state) as well as in the assessment of the role of educational institutions for shaping employment systems. They thus dispose of different pitfalls and potentials for analyzing the gendered character of change of employ- ment systems.
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