Table of Contents

Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe

Labour Markets in Transition

Edited by Ruud Muffels

This book seeks to gain a better understanding of the paradoxical relationship between the alleged need of European labour markets to become more flexible and the way in which national policies pursue this aim without jeopardising existing high standards of income and employment security. Special interest is devoted to the way in which countries opt for different policy routes to cope with the aim of balancing flexibility and security goals in their respective labour market and social protection policies. The contributions in this book all try to unveil the particular changes or transitions occurring in the various labour markets, to learn about their medium and longer term effects and the role of institutions and policies to cushion the adverse consequences of these changes. By studying some ‘best practices’ in Denmark, Canada and Australia they also draw some important lessons about the reasons why national policies might either fail or better cope with the challenges Europe face today.

Chapter 14: Conclusion. Flexibility and Employment Security in Europe: A Siamese Twin?

Ruud Muffels

Subjects: economics and finance, labour economics, social policy and sociology, comparative social policy, labour policy


Ruud Muffels 14.1 RESEARCH QUESTIONS AND CONCEPTUAL MODEL Transitional labour markets and flexicurity The now very popular debate on ‘flexibility’ and ‘security’ in European academic and policy circles mirrors the classical economic issue as to how policies can maintain or even improve the balance between efficiency and equity on the labour market. Flexibility is understood in this volume in economic terms as the degree to which the labour market is capable of creating opportunities for employers and employees to meet their demands for qualified workers and jobs. A flexible labour market implies an efficiently operating labour market exhibiting high levels of mobility on the internal (functional flexibility) as well as the external labour market (numerical flexibility). It means that employers have more leeway either due to lack of institutional constraints or to opportunities offered by the terms of law to adapt the workforce to changes in demand. For workers and the unemployed it means that they rapidly acquire the job they are looking for and for which they are qualified, but also that they can adapt their labour input according to their needs throughout the life-course (Schmid, 1995b). The meaning of equity and security is rather straightforward and boils down to assuming that properly working labour markets safeguard equal opportunities or chances to maintain fair levels of income and employment security to all workers over the entire career. To the extent that countries are capable to maintain a balanced mix of flexibility and security, this volume tries to answer the...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information