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From Bismarck to Maastricht: The March to European Union and the Labor Compact

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  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

This paper considers the likely impact that European Union (EU) will have on the labor compact. It is argued that, despite increased economic integration in Europe, countries will still be able to maintain distinct labor practices if they are willing to bear the cost of those practices. The incidence of many social protections probably already falls on workers. In addition, it is argued that imperfect mobility of capital, labor, goods and services will limit the pressure that integration will place on the labor compact. Evidence is presented suggesting that labor mobility among EU countries has not increased after the elimination of remaining restrictions on intra-EU labor mobility in 1993. Moreover, immigration from non-EU countries, which is much larger than intra-EU migration, has declined since 1993. Evidence is also reviewed suggesting that the demand for social protection rises when countries are more open, and therefore subject to more severe external shocks. This finding suggests that increased economic integration and European Monetary Union could lead to greater demand for social protection. The U.S. experience with state workers' compensation insurance programs is offered as an example of enduring differences in labor market protections in highly integrated regional economies with a common currency.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7456.

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Date of creation: Jan 2000
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Publication status: published as Labour Economics, Vol. 7, no. 2 (March 2000): 117-134
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7456

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  1. Calmfors, Lars, 1998. "Macroeconomic Policy, Wage Setting and Employment - What Difference Does the EMU Make?," Seminar Papers 657, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
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  9. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
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  14. Jonathan Gruber & Alan Krueger, 1990. "The Incidence of Mandated Employer-Provided Insurance: Lessons from Workers' Compensations Insurance," Working Papers 659, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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