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 5: Pathways to Flexicurity in Europe: Do They Affect Male and Female Labour Market Transition Patterns?

Ruud Muffels

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


Ruud Muffels1 5.1 INTRODUCTION The notion that modern labour markets perform better if they are capable of maintaining a balance between labour market flexibility and employment security is gaining ground in the European policy arena. In European social policy terms it boils down to improving the adaptability of the labour market by avoiding rigidities caused by legal or institutional constraints, while simultaneously maintaining or increasing existing levels of income and employment security. This is coined in the literature under the heading of ‘flexicurity’. There is ample evidence now that the way European labour markets appear capable of creating a more or less balanced mix between labour market flexibility and income and employment security is showing a large heterogeneity (European Commission, 2006, 2007). In an earlier publication we concluded that there is no one-size-fits-all approach but that there are clearly distinct roads or pathways in Europe (Muffels, 2007). In this chapter we examine the relationship between labour market flexibility, indicated by labour market mobility and income and employment security across Europe from an empirical perspective using the data of the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) for the period 1994–2001. Compared to previous work in which we focused on men only we will deal in this chapter also with women and compare their mobility patterns and ‘flexicurity’ outcomes with those of men. But, because we are including women we need to take account of the factors that might explain the specific transition patterns of women in the labour market compared to...

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