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European Labour Markets and the Euro: How Much Flexibility Do We Really Need?


  • Michael C. Burda

    () (Humboldt University Berlin)


Widespread concern over real effects of EMU is consistent with new Keynesian approaches to macroeconomic fluctuations, but more difficult to reconcile with a real business cycle (RBC) paradigm. Using a model with frictions as a point of departure, I speculate that nominal price rigidity in Europe is likely to increase, while real rigidities are likely to decrease, as a consequence of monetary union. This logic implies a new European macroeconomic regime in which monetary policy is increasingly "effective" in influencing output in the short run. Similarly, changes in the nature of real and nominal price determination are likely to increase the volatility of the European business cycle. Empirical evidence of increasing covariation of price inflation and declining correlation of wage inflation and real wage growth within EMU countries in the last decade is consistent with this conjecture. Calls for additional labour market flexibility, given the magnitude of what is already in store for Europe, may be unwarranted.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael C. Burda, 2001. "European Labour Markets and the Euro: How Much Flexibility Do We Really Need?," Economics Working Papers 003, European Network of Economic Policy Research Institutes.
  • Handle: RePEc:epr:enepwp:003

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Saint-Paul, G. & Bentolila, S., 2000. "Will EMU Increase Eurosclerosis?," Papers 0004, Centro de Estudios Monetarios Y Financieros-.
    2. Kenen, Peter B., 2000. "Currency areas, policy domains, and the institutionalization of fixed exchange rates," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20170, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Jochen Michaelis & Michael Pflüger, 2002. "Euroland: Besser als befürchtet, aber schlechter als erhofft?," Vierteljahrshefte zur Wirtschaftsforschung / Quarterly Journal of Economic Research, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(3), pages 296-311.
    4. Torben M. Andersen, 2003. "Wage formation and European integration," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 188, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    5. Boeri, Tito, 2000. "Social Europe: Dramatic Visions and Real Complexity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Andrea Herrmann, 2005. "Converging Divergence: How Competitive Advantages Condition Institutional Change under EMU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 287-310, June.
    7. Monastiriotis, Vassilis & Zartaloudis, Sotirios, 2010. "Beyond the crisis: EMU and labour market reform pressures in good and bad times," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 53300, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Torben M. Andersen & Allan Sørensen, 2012. "Globalization, Tax Distortions, and Public-Sector Retrenchment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(2), pages 409-439, June.
    9. Roel Beetsma & Lans Bovenberg, 2001. "Structural Distortions and Decentralized Fiscal Policies in EMU," CESifo Working Paper Series 473, CESifo Group Munich.
    10. Calmfors, Lars, 2001. "Wages and wage-bargaining institutions in the EMU – a survey of the issues," Seminar Papers 690, Stockholm University, Institute for International Economic Studies.
    11. Andersen, Torben M. & Skaksen, Jan Rose, 2003. "Product Market Integration, Comparative Advantages and Labour Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 698, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Torben Andersen & Jan Skaksen, 2007. "Labour Demand, Wage Mark-ups and Product Market Integration," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 92(2), pages 103-135, October.
    13. Achim Kemmerling, 2003. "Regional Input on the Social Dimension of Ezoneplus: Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Austria, and Germany," Eastward Enlargement of the Euro-zone Working Papers wp13c, Free University Berlin, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, revised 01 Mar 2003.
    14. Markus Knell, 2002. "The effects of EMU on euro area unemployment," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 30(3), pages 244-262, September.
    15. Blandine ZIMMER, 2005. "Coordination des négociations salariales en UEM : un rôle majeur pour la BCE," Working Papers of BETA 2005-09, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
    16. Dohse, Dirk & Krieger-Boden, Christiane & Soltwedel, Rüdiger, 2000. "Emu Challenges Regional Labor Markets," ERSA conference papers ersa00p7, European Regional Science Association.
    17. Markus Knell, 2002. "Wage Formation in Open Economies and the Role of Monetary and Wage-Setting Institutions," Working Papers 63, Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Austrian Central Bank).
    18. Massimo Suardi, 2001. "EMU and asymetries in the monetary policy transmission," European Economy - Economic Papers 2008 - 2015 157, Directorate General Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
    19. Lars Calmfors, 2001. "Wages and Wage-Bargaining Institutions in the EMU – A Survey of the Issues," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 325-351, December.
    20. repec:onb:oenbwp:y::i:63:b:1 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Torben M. Andersen, "undated". "International Integration and the Welfare State," Economics Working Papers 2002-2, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.
    22. Böckerman, Petri & Riihimäki, Elisa, 2009. "International outsourcing and labour demand: Evidence from Finnish firm-level data," MPRA Paper 16903, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    23. Berthold, Norbert & Fehn, Rainer, 2000. "Arbeitsmarktpolitik in der Europäischen Währungsunion," Discussion Paper Series 38, Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg, Chair of Economic Order and Social Policy.
    24. Michael Knogler, 2002. "Arbeitsmarktpolitische Herausforderungen in den Ländern der EU-Beitrittskandidaten," Working Papers 235, Leibniz Institut für Ost- und Südosteuropaforschung (Institute for East and Southeast European Studies).
    25. S. Sgherri, 2000. "When is labour market flexibility welcome? More on asymmetric policy impacts in Europe," WO Research Memoranda (discontinued) 619, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.

    More about this item


    Euro; European Integration; European Monetary Union; monetary transmission mechanism;

    JEL classification:

    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • J51 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Trade Unions: Objectives, Structure, and Effects

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