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Sympathy for the Devil? Exploring Flexicurity Win–Win Promises


  • Pedraza Pablo de


  • Domínguez-Torreiro Marcos

    () (European Commission, DG Joint Research Centre, Directorate I – Competences, Unit I.1 - Modelling, Indicators and Impact Evaluation, Competence Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards (CC COIN), TP 361, Via E. Fermi 2749, I-21027, Ispra (Va), Italy)

  • Álvarez-Díaz Marcos

    () (Department of Fundamentals of Economic Analysis, University of Vigo, Facultad de Ciencias Empresariais e Turismo, Campus Universitario As Lagoas s/n, 32004, Ourense Galicia(Spain))


Flexicurity is the combination of more flexibility for employers and more security for workers. It is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that lacks a well-developed monitoring framework or a statistically consistent grouping of the indicators. First, this paper proposes a conceptual framework by building upon the Wilthagen and Tros (2004) flexicurity matrix and the Danish Golden Triangle. It constructs flexicurity “drivers” by pooling together variables that are conceptually related to each other and a specific type of flexibility or security. Then, it obtains statistically consistent aggregate measures for each driver and selects three drivers that represent the three corners of the Danish “golden triangle”: external numerical flexibility, employment security, and income security. It conducts an empirical analysis on the evolution of the selected flexicurity drivers over time and across European Union (EU) countries and on the relationship between selected flexicurity drivers and social outcomes from the Social Scoreboard of the European Pillar of Social Rights. It finds evidence of convergence on external numerical flexibility and polarization on employment and income security across the EU. It finds that higher flexibility at the onset of the crisis contributed to a reduction in the unemployment rates after the crisis, while a more generous welfare system contributed to reducing poverty. Employment security, however, appears to be linked to the presence of higher levels of income inequality after the crisis.

Suggested Citation

  • Pedraza Pablo de & Domínguez-Torreiro Marcos & Álvarez-Díaz Marcos, 2019. "Sympathy for the Devil? Exploring Flexicurity Win–Win Promises," IZA Journal of Labor Policy, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 9(1), pages 1-26, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:izajlp:v:9:y:2019:i:1:p:26:n:9
    DOI: 10.2478/izajolp-2019-0009

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    More about this item


    flexicurity; European Pillar of Social Rights; unemployment; employment; poverty; inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • J0 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • C5 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric Modeling


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