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EMU and Labour Market Reform: Needs, Incentives and Realisations

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  • André Van Poeck
  • Alain Borghijs

Abstract

Despite improving labour market conditions in recent years, a number of EMU countries still suffer from high and persistent unemployment. It could therefore be expected that labour market reform would be given a prominent position on the political agenda. The new constraints associated with the common monetary policy only increase the pressure for reform. Relying on the introduction of the single currency as a trigger for labour market reform may be a risky strategy. EMU generates a complex set of re-optimising strategies of the players on the labour market, which makes it difficult to get a clear idea what impact it will have on labour market reform. Evaluation of recent reform measures does not make one confident either. The empirical analysis confirms to some extent the idea that countries with higher unemployment rates have carried out more labour market reform. This finding holds, however, only for countries that do not belong to EMU. EMU countries have on average carried out no more reform than countries outside EMU and any link between the initial unemployment level and the labour market reform indicators seems to lack. It may become apparent that more reform is needed once the macroeconomic environment becomes more unfavourable. Copyright Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001.

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  • André Van Poeck & Alain Borghijs, 2001. "EMU and Labour Market Reform: Needs, Incentives and Realisations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(10), pages 1327-1352, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:worlde:v:24:y:2001:i:10:p:1327-1352
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    1. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:129:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Acocella, Nicola & Di Bartolomeo, Giovanni & Tirelli, Patrizio, 2009. "The macroeconomics of social pacts," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 202-213, October.
    3. S. Deroose & E. Flores & A. Turrini, 2006. "Proceedings from the ECFIN Workshop "The budgetary implications of structural reforms" - Brussels, 2 December 2005," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 248, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    4. Tvrdon, Michal, 2007. "Labour Market Flexibility: the Case of Visegrad Countries," MPRA Paper 12314, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Belke, Ansgar H. & Gros, Daniel, 2007. "Instability of the Eurozone? On Monetary Policy, House Prices and Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 2547, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Ansgar Belke & Bernhard Herz & Lukas Vogel, 2006. "Beyond Trade – Is Reform Effort Affected by the Exchange Rate Regime? A Panel Analysis for the World versus OECD Countries," Economie Internationale, CEPII research center, issue 107, pages 29-58.
    7. Michal, Tvrdon, 2008. "Labour Market Institutions and Labour Market Performance in the European Union," MPRA Paper 12219, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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