Revisiting the Australia-New Zealand Comparison
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Labour market regulation in Australia and New Zealand has proceeded along a similar trajectory, sometimes intersecting and other times appearing to take divergent paths. Interest in comparing both systems of labour market regulation peaked in the 1980s and early 1990s when there was a marked divergence. The structural divergence was highlighted by the abolition of compulsory arbitration and the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act in New Zealand. Since the early 1990s, there has been a re-convergence in the structures of labour market regulation. This re-convergence highlights a need to revisit the Australia-New Zealand comparison. This paper seeks to re-conceptualise the comparison by highlighting some of the limitations of the existing comparative literature and developing a broader framework that examines both the structures of labour market regulation and the functions that labour market institutions perform. In doing so, and in keeping with the earlier comparative literature, it seeks to contribute to the theoretical matrix within which cross-national industrial relations research is conducted.
New Zealand Journal of Employment Relations
© 2005 ER Publishing. Please refer to the journal's website for access to the definitive, published version.