chapter
11 Pages

Introduction

WithBARRY EICHENGREEN, MICHAEL LANDESMANN

Commentators are fond of emphasizing the differences between the US and European economies. America is characterized by high levels of income inequality but also by high social mobility that allows individuals to move between less-and better-paying jobs. While Europe suffers from less inequality, it also enjoys less social mobility. Europe displays higher rates of unemployment, but Europeans typically enjoy shorter work weeks and take more weeks of holiday. It is more difficult in Europe to start a new company, terminate redundant workers, and reorganize production with the goal of cutting labour costs. The European economy is more heavily unionized, and industry-wide wage agreements leave less scope for wage differentials between more-and lessproductive firms and regions. European finance remains bank based, in contrast to the United States where stock and bond markets are better capitalized. America outstrips Europe as the home of the leading research universities and the residence of Nobel Prize winners; its economy benefits from closer university-industry collaboration.