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The Labour Market in Bulgaria


  • I Beleva
  • Richard Jackman
  • M Nenova-Amar


The fall in output and employment, and the rise in unemployment, during the transition in Bulgaria have been exceptionally severe. This paper examines possible causes, including the role of the financial stabilisation package, collective bargaining and the excess wage tax, the gradual emergence of the private sector, and the unemployment benefit system. The paper concludes that economic activity in Bulgaria has been depressed relative to other transitional economies by weak export growth as a result of its unfortunate geographical location. On the supply side, there has been a continuing vulnerability to wage inflation resulting from the slow privatisation of state enterprises and the continuing political; strength of the trade unions. A small-scale private sector (some of it "informal") is flourishing, aided in part by the very restrictive unemployment benefit regime, but remains of secondary importance. A sustained recovery will depend both on a return to economic stability in neighbouring economies and on more determined domestic policies, in particular on privatisation, to complete the transition to a market economy.

Suggested Citation

  • I Beleva & Richard Jackman & M Nenova-Amar, 1995. "The Labour Market in Bulgaria," CEP Discussion Papers dp0268, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0268

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    Cited by:

    1. Jackman, Richard & Pauna, C, 1997. "Labour market policy and the reallocation of labour across sectors," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2047, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Falaris, Evangelos M., 2004. "Private and public sector wages in Bulgaria," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 56-72, March.
    3. Boeri, Tito, 1997. "Heterogeneous workers, economic transformation and the stagnancy of transitional unemployment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 905-914, April.
    4. V. Tsanov & P. Ivanova & S. Panteleeva & S. Bogdanov, 2013. "GINI Country Report: Growing Inequalities and their Impacts in Bulgaria," GINI Country Reports bulgaria, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    5. Beleva, Iskra, 2001. "Targeting Youth Employment Policy in Bulgaria," MPRA Paper 60272, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Dobbelaere, Sabien, 2004. "Ownership, firm size and rent sharing in Bulgaria," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2), pages 165-189, April.
    7. Vassil Tzanov, 2007. "Estimates of Labour Market Flexibility in Bulgaria," Economic Thought journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 7, pages 27-46.
    8. Ira N. Gang & Ralitza Dimova, 2004. "Self-Selection And Earnings During Volatile Transition," Departmental Working Papers 200409, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
    9. Todor Todorov, 2012. "Hidden Unemployment in Bulgaria – Discouraged Worker Effect and Involuntary Underemployment," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 1, pages 171-199.
    10. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2809-2857 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Sandrine Cazes & Stéfano Scarpetta, 1995. "Caractéristiques individuelles, marchés du travail locaux et chômage en Pologne et en Bulgarie : l'apport des micro-données," Revue de l'OFCE, Programme National Persée, vol. 54(1), pages 105-145.
    12. Iskra Beleva, 2011. "Cyclic Economic Development and the Labor Market in Bulgaria 1990-2010 (cause-effect relations, realities and challenges)," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 4, pages 3-56.
    13. Vasil Tzanov, 2011. "Inequality at Work Emerging in the Current Crisis in Bulgaria," Chapters,in: Work Inequalities in the Crisis, chapter 3 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    14. Richard Jackman & C Pauna, 1997. "Labour Market Policy and the Reallocation of Labour Across Sectors," CEP Discussion Papers dp0338, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.

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