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Labour Market Transitions and Employment Regimes: Evidence on the Flexibility-Security Nexus in Transitional Labour Markets


  • Muffels, Ruud
  • Wilthagen, Ton
  • Heuvel, Nick van den


This paper deals with the question whether the concept of transitional labour market(TLM) might be useful to formulate hypotheses about the relationship between the size and nature of labour market transitions and the performance of employment regimes. The paper starts from the idea that the TLM concept, as being developed by Günther Schmid and others, might be connected with the notion of ‘employment regimes’ as defined by Gösta Esping-Andersen and others. Subsequently the paper aims at testing empirically whether the claims of the TLM concept with respect to labour market flexibility and work security hold in the real worlds of European labour markets. The paper comes to the conclusion that the liberal regime combines a high level of labour mobility and flexibility (although not much higher than the corporatist or social-democratic regime) with a low level of work security, and that the social-democratic regime comes out with a high level of work security but a (somewhat) lower level of labour market mobility. However, these regimes do not fit that nicely in the ‘ideal-type’ as this conclusion might suggest: the liberal regimes also have fairly high levels of employment security and social-democratic countries have fairly high levels of labour mobility and flexibility. The convergence hypothesis might find some ground in these findings. Notwithstanding this assessment, we find that the Southern regime can and shouldbe quite clearly distinguished from the other regimes. Although the share of flexible jobs is rather high, upward mobility into permanent jobs is lower in the South and downward mobility (from work into exclusion) is higher. Hence, the Southern regime is performing worse both in terms of enhancing job mobility and preventing labour market exclusion. Apparently, regimes differ and the differences concern the particular tradeoff or balance between flexibility and security within the distinct regimes.

Suggested Citation

  • Muffels, Ruud & Wilthagen, Ton & Heuvel, Nick van den, 2002. "Labour Market Transitions and Employment Regimes: Evidence on the Flexibility-Security Nexus in Transitional Labour Markets," MPRA Paper 13301, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:13301

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Danièle Meulders & Olivier Plasman & Robert Plasman, 1994. "Atypical employment in the EC," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13464, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    2. Muffels, Ruud & Fouarge, Didier, 2001. "Working Profiles and Employment Regimes in European Panel Perspective," MPRA Paper 13295, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ralf Mytzek-Zühlke, 2007. "Einflussfaktoren betrieblichen Weiterbildungshandelns im internationalen Vergleich," AStA Wirtschafts- und Sozialstatistisches Archiv, Springer;Deutsche Statistische Gesellschaft - German Statistical Society, vol. 1(3), pages 217-232, December.
    2. Brzinsky-Fay, Christian, 2010. "The concept of transitional labour markets: A theoretical and methodological inventory," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Skill Formation and Labor Markets SP I 2010-507, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Sylvie Morel, 2012. "Sécurisation des trajectoires professionnelles, institutionnalisme commonsien et marchés transitionnels," Post-Print halshs-00815518, HAL.
    4. Valentova, Marie, 2007. "Attitudes to Family Policy Arrangements in Relation to Attitudes to Family and division of Labour between Genders," IRISS Working Paper Series 2007-05, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    5. Schmid, Günther, 2006. "Sharing risk: on social risk management and the governance of labour market transitions," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Labor Market Policy and Employment SP I 2006-101, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).

    More about this item


    employment; welfare regimes; flexibility; employment security; working time; labour market transitions; panel data;

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets


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