Employment through Labour Market Flexibility? A Critical Appraisal of the European Employment Strategy

  • Jörg Huffschmid


Over the last two decades, labour market policies in Europe have been strongly inspired by the doctrine that persistent unemployment mainly arises from malfunctions in the labour market itself.1 In various ways, the flexibility of labour markets has been advocated as the main solution to unemployment. The call for flexibility typically includes demands for downward wage flexibility, easier hiring and firing, flexible changes of tasks and working conditions and higher labour mobility across regions, industries and occupations.


Labour Market Trade Union Real Wage Labour Market Policy Labour Productivity Growth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Brouwer, E. and A. Kleinknecht, ‘Keynes-plus? Effective Demand and Changes in Firmlevel R&D’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 23 (1999) pp. 385–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. DNB, ‘Leidt loonmatiging tot een lagere groei van de arbeidsproductiviteit op langere termijn?’, Quarterly Report of the Central Bank of the Netherlands (in Dutch) (Amsterdam, 2003).Google Scholar
  3. Directorate-General for Employment and Social Affairs, Employment in Europe 2002: Recent Trends and Prospects, European Communities (Luxembourg, 2002).Google Scholar
  4. Dufresne, A., ‘Oskar Lafontaine’s Dream: an Opportunity for Economic Policy Co-ordination?’ in: C. Degryse and P. Pochet (eds), Social Developments in the European Union, ETUI/OSE (Brussels, 2002) pp. 85–113.Google Scholar
  5. European Commission, Innovation in Europe: Results for the EU, Norway and Iceland: Data 1998–2001 (Luxembourg, 2004a).Google Scholar
  6. European Commission, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council Amending Directive 2003/88/EC Concerning Certain Aspects of the Organisation of Working Time, COM (2004) 607 (final) (Brussels, 2004b).Google Scholar
  7. Gordon, R., ‘Does the “New Economy” Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?’, Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 14, No. 4 (2000) pp. 49–74.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Grahl, J. and P. Teague, ‘The German Model in Danger’, Industrial Relations Journal, forthcoming (2005).Google Scholar
  9. Groot, W. and H. Maassen van den Brink, Investeren en terugverdienen. Inverdien- en welvaartseffectten van onderwijsinvesteringen (in Dutch) (The Hague: Sectorbestuur Onderwijsarbeidsmarkt, November 2003) ( Scholar
  10. Jorgenson, D. W., W. Dale and Kevin L. Stiroh, ‘Information Technology and Growth’, American Economic Review, Papers and Proceedings (1999) pp. 109–15.Google Scholar
  11. Kleinknecht, A., ‘Are There Schumpeterian Waves of Innovation?’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 14 (1990) pp. 81–92.Google Scholar
  12. Kleinknecht, A., ‘Is Labour Market Flexibility Harmful to Innovation?’, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Vol. 22 (1998) pp. 387–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kleinknecht, A., R. Oostendorp and M. Pradhan, Patronen en economische effecten van flexibiliteit in de Nederlandse arbeidsverhoudingen (in Dutch), WRR voorstudies en achtergronden, No. V99 (The Hague: Sdu Uitgeverijen (ISBN: 90 399 1383 8), November 1997).Google Scholar
  14. Naastepad, C. W. M. and A. Kleinknecht, ‘The Dutch Productivity Slowdown: the Culprit at Last?’, Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Vol. 15 (2004) pp. 137–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Schmookler, J., Invention and Economic Growth (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1966).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Ter Weel, B., ‘The Computerization of the Labour Market’, PhD thesis, University of Maastricht (2002).Google Scholar
  17. Watt, A., ‘Reform of the European Employment Strategy after Five Years: a Change of Course or Merely of Presentation?’, European Journal of Industrial Relations, Vol. 10, No. 2 (July 2004).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jörg Huffschmid
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BremenGermany

Personalised recommendations