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Models of Lifelong Learning and the Knowledge Economy/Society in Europe. Andy Green Institute of Education, University of London Presentation at Comparative IP, Madrid July 26 th 2005. Regional Patterns in Europe. The European Union is a union of les regions as well les pays

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models of lifelong learning and the knowledge economy society in europe
Models of Lifelong Learning and the Knowledge Economy/Society in Europe

Andy Green

Institute of Education, University of London

Presentation at Comparative IP, Madrid

July 26th 2005

regional patterns in europe
Regional Patterns in Europe

The European Union is a union of les regions as well les pays

Social Scientists and historians have long been aware of Europe’s distinctive regions and regional models in term of:

  • Economies and labour markets (Braudel; Maurice and Sellier; Leonardi)
  • Geo-political Systems (Mackinder; Rokkan)
  • Citizenship concepts (Brubaker; Kohn)
  • Welfare Regimes (Esping-Andersen)
the approach to analysing regional models
The Approach to Analysing regional Models

This paper seeks to examine whether there are regional models of LLL in Europe and how these relate to models of the Knowledge Economy/Society.

We have insufficient units of comparison (in terms of regions) to analyse this statistically, so the following uses a logical qualitative approach to comparison using statistical data descriptively ie ascertaining what the different regions have in common and how far they differ from other regions in terms of lifelong learning systems and their outputs and outcomes.

the parameters
The Parameters
  • The paper limits itself to countries in western Europe since the fluidity of systems in the East makes their analysis difficult at this point.
  • Regions are normally defined in geographical terms but not exclusively since cultural and historical affinities may over-ride geography (as with the English-speaking countries)
  • Countries outside of Europe are included where the datasets include them and where they exhibit interesting patterns
models of high skills
Models of High Skills

Traditional models of ‘high skills economies’ have usually been binary:

  • Sharehlder v. stakeholder capitalism (Hutton)
  • Stockmarket v. welfare capitalism (Dore)
  • High skills/low skills economies v. High Skills Economies/Societies (Brown, Green and Lauder)

In most analyses the first types are exemplified by the USA, the UK and some other English speaking countries – hence the designation anglo-saxon model capitalism.

The second type are variously represented by Germany, Japan and Sweden

anglo saxon shareholder model high skills economies
Anglo Saxon Shareholder Model High Skills Economies

Shareholder economies give primacy to market mechanisms and to the overriding rights of investors. Innovation and competitiveness achieved through:

  • Flexible labour markets
  • Light regulation
  • High employment rates
  • Long working hours
  • Lower rates of social expenditure

The skills formation systems which serve them produce high skills elites – which serve the high skills sectors – but are typically highly polarised, producing long tail of low skilled who serve the cost-based competition strategies of the low skills sectors.

The system is said to promote rapid economic growth but may come at the price of poorer public services, product and service standards, greater income inequality and lower levels of social cohesion.

stakeholder economies social market model
Stakeholder Economies (social Market Model)

Stakeholder economies, which balance the rights of investors with the rights of other social interest groups and work through social partnership have:

  • Higher social expenditure
  • More labour Market and other regulation
  • Lower employment rates
  • Shorter working hours

Economic competitiveness is enhanced through high labour productivity but low employment rates and shorter working hours constrain economic growth. Labour market regulation enhances wage equality but increases inequality between the employed and unemployed.

Skills formation systems produce high skilled elites but also wider disperpersion of skills which serves the wide variety of high skills sectors

trade offs 1
Trade Offs 1

Policy makers typically see the two models as being characterised by a series of trade offs.

High GDP per capita and economic growth depend on high labour productivity (output per hour), high employment rates and long working hours.

In the shareholder model:

  • High employment rates may be achieved by flexible labour markets but these may reduce job protection, work quality and increase wage inequality.
  • Longer working hours may increase average incomes but lower leisure time and life quality.
  • Low levels of regulation may increase opportunities for innovation and economic dynamism but may also lower produce and service standards and pose a threat to the environment.
  • Higher employment levels from flexible labour markets may increase social inclusion through work but also increase wage inequality which undermines social cohesion, along with low levels of welfare spending.
trade off 2
Trade Off 2

In the social market model, more regulation and higher social spending contribute to:

  • High labour productivity (through HC investment)
  • Higher wage equality
  • Better product, service and environmental standards
  • Higher life quality

But also:

  • Slower job growth
  • Higher umemployment (which lower pc GDP)
  • Greater inequality better employed and unemployed
tripodic model
Tripodic Model

However recent research (de Mooig and Tang) suggests that this dualistic conception of high skills economies/societies with inevitable trade offs between employment levels and equality is over-simplified.

While some aspects of labour market regulation do reduce employment at the same time as increasing wage equality (such as high union membership and employment protection) other aspects (such as centralised concerted bargain and active LM policy) infact increase employment and wage equality.

The Nordic countries typically fit this pattern. This suggest that we should we thinking of not two but three models of the Knowledge Economy/Society in Europe not two:

  • Anglo-American Model (high employment low equality)
  • Core Europe social market model (lower employment higher equality)
  • Nordic social democratic model (higher employment lower inequality)
country groupings
Country groupings

We can examine how different countries fit the three models by looking at their relative performance in terms of the three constitutents of national income. Following de Mooig and Tang we do this by showing National rates in relation to the USA but using a larger range of EU states.

interpreting the data
Interpreting the data
  • Many European countries achieve higher rates of labour productivity than US (inc: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands and Norway)
  • All countries (except Lux.) fall behind US in national income because of either lower labour productivity or lower employment rates or shorter working hours or a combination of these. Four groups emerge
  • Countries which lower GDP mainly because of low labour productivity (Greece, Portugal, Spain, Czech R., Hungary, Turkey, Poland) - not taken to be High Skills economies yet.
  • Countries with high labour productivity but low employment rates (core Europe: Austria, France, Germany Italy) or shorter working hours (Belgium and Netherlands).
  • Countries with high labour productivity and high employment rates but shorter working hours, except Sweden - Nordics
parameters of comparisons
Parameters of Comparisons

System Characteristics:

Visions of LLL and the Knowledge Economy

Institutional Structures

Curricula and Assessment

Modes of Regulation


Participation rates

Levels of attainment

Distribution of attainment

Types of Knowledge Economy

modes of regulation
Modes of Regulation

State………………………………………………………… ……………………….Civil Society

State State-led SP Formalised SP Voluntary Partnership Market

Centralized LUXEMBOURG






Regionalized GERMANY




Institutionalized NETHERLANDS UK

southern europe institutional structures
Southern Europe: Institutional Structures
  • Comprehensive zoned lower secondary schools (except Mata) with limited school choice
  • Some tracking and grade repeating
  • Dedicated upper secondary schools of different types with monotechnic vocational high schools (come comp in Greece and France)
  • Residual apprenticeship system
  • Limited work-based training
  • Mixture of unitary and binary HE
curricula and assessment
Curricula and Assessment
  • Encyclopeidic school knowledge tradition
  • Compulsory core of general subjects through all upper secondary
  • Group awards with wide range of subjects
  • Some with overarching qualification systems giving entitlements to HE access to grads
  • Universalistic
modes of regulation1
Modes of Regulation

School systems:

  • Centralised with some regionalisation
  • National curricula and school text book authorisation in Greece
  • Limited school choice and diversity
  • Limited financial delegation to schools (teachers as civil servants
  • State allocation of teachers to schools


  • State guided social partnership
  • Levies, employee training rights etc
german region institutions
German Region - Institutions
  • Mostly state schools
  • Selective lower secondary schools
  • Dominant apprenticeship systems in upper secondary
  • Binary HE systems
  • High levels of work-based training
curricula and assessment1
Curricula and Assessment
  • Particularistic knowledge traditions with more specialisation
  • Sharper distinction between vocational and general knowledge
  • Grouped awards through schools with common core but quite specialised
  • Particularistic non-integrated system of awards
modes of regulation2
Modes of Regulation
  • Mostly regional control of schools but high levels of regulation at regional level
  • School diveristy by types but limited school choice within types
  • Limited financial delegation to schools with teachers as civil servants. Text book authorization in some.
  • Formalised social partner model of work-based training with social partners involved in :

- standard setting; monitoring; assessment; sectoral bargaining over pay and qualification rates for jobs. Extensive license to practise provisions.

english speaking countries institutions
English- Speaking Countries: Institutions
  • Autonomous private schools
  • Comprehensive lower sec schools (except in N.I) but with creeping selection and high levels of diversification and choice in several countries (less so Scotland)
  • Mixed institutional pattern of upper secondary with residual to growing apprentice sector
  • Unitary HE in UK
  • Relatively high levels of work-based training
curricula and assessment2
Curricula and assessment
  • Traditional student-centred approach
  • High level of (early) specialisation with elective subjects and non common core in English upper secondary
  • Vocational streams without general education tradition in vocational education
  • Dominance of elective examinations within highly fragmented assessment system
modes of regulation3
Modes of Regulation
  • School system combines centralised control over standards and performance with institutional autonomy in delivery
  • Financial delegation to schools with school hire and fire
  • High level of school diversification and choice
  • Voluntary partnership model of CVT:
  • Limited union involvement in standards and sectoral agreements over pay and qualifications; limited licence to practise; few levies, limited training rights; few obligations on employers to train BUT
  • Emphasis in information and small financial incentives for targetted groups
  • Gov’t encouragement of networking between partners
the nordic countries institutions
The Nordic Countries - Institutions
  • Overwhelmingly state system throughout with few private schools
  • Comprehensive all-through neighbourhood primary and lower secondary schools
  • Almost no streaming and setting
  • Dedicated general and vocational high schools (combined in Sweden)
  • State funded extensive adult learning (including the adult folk schools)
  • Binary higher education
curricula and assesment
Curricula and Assesment
  • Encyclopeidic traditions
  • Late specialisation in upper secondary with common core general education
  • Overarching matriculation system at end of upper secondary
modes of regulation4
Modes of Regulation
  • Predominance of local level control in state school sector
  • Limited school diversity and choice (not least since no break between primary and secondary)
  • Limited financial delegation to school since teachers are civil servants – although some curricula autonomy at school level
  • Social partner based system of CVT regulation with strong legislation in key areas
what processes contribute to socio economic effects in each model
What Processes Contribute to Socio-Economic Effects in Each Model?

Lifelong learning contributes directly and indirectly to Competitiveness and Social Cohesion in conjunction with:

  • Welfare systems
  • Labour market regimes

Many causal relationships work in two directions

lifelong learning system effects
Lifelong Learning System Effects

The contributions of LLL systems work in three ways (leaving aside the socialisation process not analyses here)

  • Produce high levels of aggregate levels of skills which contribute towards labour productivity
  • Produce skills distributions where more equal educational outcomes contribute to income quality and, indirectly, to social cohesion
  • Renew adult skills which contributes to employment, and indirectly to social inclusion.
skills distribution in the models
Skills Distribution in the Models

Anglo-American model of LLL produce high inequality of skills outcomes through welfare systems and diversity and choice in education system.

This has negative effects on social cohesion.

On the other and, high rates of adult learning contributes towards higher employment rates and therefore social inclusion. Effects limited, however, because of wage inequality.

core europe model of social market
Core Europe Model of Social Market

Education system produce unequal outcomes but these are mitigated by Apprenticeship system.

Overall the skills system produces less inequality than Anglo-American one but more than Nordic one.

The relative skills equality reduces wage inequality which has positive effects on social cohesion. However, labour market regime creates barriers to employment and increases inequality between waged and unwaged thus constraining positive effects on social cohesion

nordic model
Nordic Model

Egalitarian school system generates highly equal educational outcomes which contribute directly to income equality and indirectly to social cohesion

Adult learning contributes to high employment rates and also to social inclusion through employment.