Edited by Ramón Gómez-Salvador, Ana Lamo, Barbara Petrongolo, Melanie Ward and Etienne Wasmer
Chapter 7: Recent Developments in Part-time Work in EU Countries: Trends and Policy
7. Recent developments in part-time work in EU countries: trends and policy1 Hielke Buddelmeyer, Gilles Mourre and Melanie Ward INTRODUCTION Over the last 20 years, Europe has experienced a dramatic increase in the share of part-time employment. This increase is generally regarded as a positive trend, since the promotion of part-time work may be an important measure through which the ﬂexibility of labour markets can be increased. On the labour supply side, part-time work may increase the labour market choices open to individuals, drawing people into the labour market who were previously unwilling or unable to work. On the labour demand side, it may allow employers to adjust hours worked to ﬂuctuations in demand more easily, facilitating adjustment of production and labour costs. The functioning of labour markets and their ability to adjust ﬂexibly to economic shocks are crucial for monetary policy. Helping inactive or unemployed persons to (re-)enter the labour market also increases potential output. Furthermore, the increase in part-time positions represents positive progress in achieving the employment targets of raising the EU employment rate to 70 per cent by 2010 and of increasing the female employment rate to more than 60 per cent by 2010,2 set up by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000. However, it is crucial to know more about the characteristics of this increase in the part-time employment share, such as which groups of the labour force are most likely to work part time and which jobs are most likely to be...
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