Economic Growth and the Labor Markets: Europe's Challenge

National Bank of Belgium Working Paper No. 8

30 Pages Posted: 9 Nov 2010

See all articles by Charles Wyplosz

Charles Wyplosz

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: May 1, 2000

Abstract

This paper reviews the accumulated theory and evidence on the sources of European underperformance in terms of economic growth and unemployment. It takes the view that the main problem lies with labor market institutions, ranging from negotiation structures to hiring and firing costs, unemployment benefits, minimum wages and taxation. It adopts the view that undesirable labor market structures have interacted with adverse shocks. An important question concerns the reasons behind reluctance in some countries to undertake reforms. The paper's thesis is that such reforms are not Pareto improving: a majority of the population stands to lose while a minority would benefit. The largest countries, where co-operation does not come naturally, are particularly vulnerable to a no-reform outcome. This observation is next used to outline possible scenarios. The paper concludes with a discussion of what could be the ECB contributions to either make reforms more acceptable or to cope with a separation of Europe in two groups of countries, those which have managed to implement reforms and those that will continue to operate with a high rate of equilibrium unemployment.

Suggested Citation

Wyplosz, Charles, Economic Growth and the Labor Markets: Europe's Challenge (May 1, 2000). National Bank of Belgium Working Paper No. 8, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1705104 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1705104

Charles Wyplosz (Contact Author)

University of Geneva - Graduate Institute of International Studies (HEI) ( email )

PO Box 136
Geneva, CH-1211
Switzerland
+41 22 908 5946 (Phone)
+41 22 733 3049 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://heiwww.unige.ch/~wyplosz

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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