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Labour demand in the EU and returns to scale: A production function approach


  • Lino P. Briguglio
  • Melchior Vella


The paper tests the hypothesis that small member states of the European Union (EU) experience economies of scale constraints. This study adopts a production function approach, utilising data from the 27 differently sized EU member countries. The results confirm the hypothesis and indicate that larger EU member countries incur lower costs per unit of output produced when compared to the smaller ones. This finding has important implications for small EU member states, including that smaller countries have to overcome their economies of scale constraint in order to attain and maintain international competitiveness. This disadvantage is particularly relevant for small states, because these states tend to be highly dependent on international trade, in which case international competitiveness is a major issue.

Suggested Citation

  • Lino P. Briguglio & Melchior Vella, 2015. "Labour demand in the EU and returns to scale: A production function approach," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(8), pages 1103-1116, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:24:y:2015:i:8:p:1103-1116
    DOI: 10.1080/09638199.2014.1002414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Herwartz, Helmut & Niebuhr, Annekatrin, 2011. "Regional labor demand and national labor market institutions in the EU15," HWWI Research Papers 112, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWI).
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