Behind and Beyond the (Headcount) Employment Rate

54 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2014

Date Written: July 18, 2014


This paper argues that we need more general statistical indices to analyse European labour markets. First, the paper discusses some normative aspects implicit in the current definition of the employment rate, which is a fundamental policy target in the new Europe 2020 strategy. Second, it proposes a class of generalised indices based on work intensity, as approximated by the total annual hours of work relative to a benchmark value. Third, it derives household-level employment indices within a consistent framework. These indices provide a more nuanced picture of the European labour markets, which better reflects the diversity in the use of part-time and fixed-term jobs as well as other factors affecting the distribution of work across and within households.

Keywords: employment rate, jobless household rate, work intensity

JEL Classification: J21, E24

Suggested Citation

Brandolini, Andrea and Viviano, Eliana, Behind and Beyond the (Headcount) Employment Rate (July 18, 2014). Bank of Italy Temi di Discussione (Working Paper) No. 965. Available at SSRN: or

Andrea Brandolini (Contact Author)

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Roma, Rome 00184
+390647923568 (Phone)
+390647923720 (Fax)

Eliana Viviano

Bank of Italy ( email )

Via Nazionale 91
Rome, 00184

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