Matthew Bloomfield, Ulf Brüggemann, Hans Christensen, Christian Leuz, 17 December 2015

Labour mobility is an important prerequisite for the efficiency of labour markets. In the EU, however, different standards across countries present an implicit economic barrier for high-skilled professionals. This column examines how the recent EU harmonisation of professional standards in accounting affected cross-border migration relative to other professionals. The harmonisation had a strong positive effect on accountants’ cross-border migration. Harmonisation could thus be a potentially powerful tool for policymakers seeking to improve labour market efficiency.

Paolo Manasse, 12 June 2015

Greece’s problem came from the bursting of a debt-financed growth bubble inflated with the help of EZ membership. This column argues that the inevitable adjustment was more painful than necessary. The fiscal consolidation was too tight and too front-loaded, and, importantly, structural reform wasn’t properly sequenced. By concentrating on labour market rather than product market reforms, the sharp wage fall could not be paralleled by a similar reduction in prices, and now soaring inequality is undermining support for needed reforms. 

Ufuk Akcigit, Salome Baslandze, Stefanie Stantcheva, 27 April 2015

Taxing high earners is an issue of growing importance in many nations. One concern is that raising rates will lead high earners to move elsewhere. This column suggests that top-tier inventors are significantly affected by top tax rates when deciding where to live. The loss of these highly skilled agents could entail significant economic costs in terms of lost tax revenues and less overall innovation.

Bruno S. Frey, Jana Gallus, 21 March 2012

The world appears to be unfair. Those who are prettier earn a higher salary and are also happier. This column argues it is still not hopeless for those less blessed with looks. Appropriate clothing, hairstyles, and good teeth can help, as can choosing a profession where expertise is clearly central and beauty of less importance.

Pierre Cahuc, Stéphane Carcillo, 02 February 2011

In October 2007 France introduced an exemption on income tax and social security contributions for overtime work. In the second of two columns on the labour market, the authors show that this reform has had no significant impact on hours worked and that it induced workers and employers to manipulate the overtime hours they declare in order to optimise their tax situation.

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