Gilles Saint-Paul, 01 February 2008

France has agreed a raft of labour market reforms. Here one of France’s most market-oriented labour economists evaluates the likely impact, concluding that it’s an improvement, but heightens incentives to become unemployed.

Samuel Bentolila, Juan Dolado, Juan Jimeno, 12 January 2008

Spain’s inflation-less drop in unemployment is due in large part to its immigration boom. If immigrants’ labour-supply behaviour comes closer to that of natives and inflation remains above target, a deeper slowdown or increasing immigration flows will be needed to bring it down.

Andrea Ichino, Rudolf Winter-Ebmer, Josef Zweimüller, Guido Schwerdt, 08 November 2007

Raising the retirement age is one of the standard solutions for Europe’s aging problem. But won’t this only increase their unemployment rate? New empirical evidence suggests that increasing the retirement age is unlikely to produce a band of workers who are too old to work but too young to retire.

Michael Burda, 23 October 2007

Germany’s equilibrium rate of unemployment has not fallen as much over the past two decades as in the Netherlands, Denmark, Ireland, and Britain. Unlike those successful reformers, Germany has not yet finished its supply-side homework. If it backslides now, it and the rest of Europe will pay the price when the next downturn comes.

Julia Lane, Harry Holzer , Fredrik Andersson, 15 October 2007

Research has long shown that workers who take temp jobs subsequently do better in the labour market. New research from the US suggests that the positive effects seem mostly to occur because those working for temp agencies have a higher chance of subsequently working for higher-wage firms.

Josep Pijoan-Mas, Claudio Michelacci, 28 May 2007

Since the 1970s, the number of hours worked per employee has fallen substantially in continental Europe, while it has remained roughly constant in the US. The authors of CEPR DP6314 show that this divergence in the number of hours worked per employee on the two sides of the Atlantic can be explained by the evolution of the respective labour market conditions over the last three decades.

Dennis Snower, Christian Merkl, Alessio Brown, 11 June 2007

Employment subsidies are often used to reduce both unemployment and earnings inequality together, a prime objective throughout the OECD. In CEPR DP6334, the authors compare the effectiveness of various employment subsidies in Germany and find that while hiring vouchers can be both effective and efficient if targeted appropriately, wage subsidies are too expensive and ineffective.

Laurent Gobillon, Thierry Magnac, Harris Selod, 19 March 2007

The authors of CEPR DP6198 and DP6199 focus on Paris to discover the effects of location on unemployment. They find that around 30% of the spatial disparities in duration of unemployment in Paris can be attributed to personal characteristics of workers, while around 70% can be attributed to characteristics of the local area.

Werner Eichhorst, Klaus F. Zimmermann, 23 April 2007

Only four instruments have led to positive results in the form of increased integration into the labour market - (i) placement vouchers; (ii) training programmes; (iii) wage subsidies; and (iv) business start-up grants. This translates to only around 28%, or €4.2 billion, of the total expenditure on active labour market policies.

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