Innovating European Labour Markets

Innovating European Labour Markets

Dynamics and Perspectives 

Edited by Peter Ester, Ruud Muffels, Joop Schippers and Ton Wilthagen

This book examines innovative theoretical perspectives and novel labour market policy responses to Europe’s changing work demands, employment careers and life courses. It presents creative ideas and recommendations for flexicurity policies at various levels and in different social and economic contexts. The driving factors determining the performance of dissimilar pathways in Europe are identified in regard to their impact on the flexibility/security nexus. Key issues in the current European policy debate are addressed, including how innovative policies are designed in the areas of working time, education, work–life balance, employment relations, retirement and migration, how they are put into practice and what determines their level of success.

Chapter 4: Labour Markets in Central and Eastern Europe: From Transition to Stabilisation

Sandrine Cazes and Alena Nesporova

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


Sandrine Cazes and Alena Nesporova 4.1 INTRODUCTION Economic and social reforms launched since the beginning of the 1990s in the former command economies of Central and Eastern Europe have been directed towards facilitating the adjustment of the enterprise sector to the challenges of international competition; this has brought about significant labour market deregulation. Previous strong legal protection of workers against termination of their employment has gradually been weakened while newly established or restructured labour market institutions have provided laid-off workers with income support during unemployment and assistance with re-employment, including access to programmes to improve their employment prospects if necessary. While initially income support was quite generous, accelerating unemployment as a result of the deep transition crisis forced policymakers to reduce it in the hope that this would contribute towards faster re-employment of jobseekers. However, unemployment remained high due to persistent sluggish labour demand as evidenced in Cazes and Nesporova (2003). Economic pressures on enterprises on the one hand and the trend towards labour market deregulation on the other have led towards increasing mobility of workers between different labour market statuses, among which flows from one job to another, as well as to significant changes in the characteristics of employment, including for one thing a growing incidence of flexible forms of employment. Cazes and Nesporova (2003) demonstrated with the help of labour market flow data an important rise in – mostly involuntary – labour mobility connected with enterprise restructuring. Furthermore, they pointed to its fluctuation during the economic cycle as a result...

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