Labour Market Implications of EU Product Market Integration
Posted: 10 Jan 2001
European labour markets are in a state of flux due to the changing market situation induced by international integration. This process affects wage formation through more fierce product market competition and increased mobility of jobs. This development is by some observers taken to enforce labour market flexibility, while for others it signals an erosion of social standards and, in turn, possibly the welfare society. Since labour is not very mobile in Europe, the effects of international integration on labour markets are mostly indirect via product market integration. We review the channels through which product market integration affects labour markets and perform an empirical analysis of the convergence and interdependencies in wage formation among EU countries. We find that integration is changing labour market structures and inducing wage convergences as well as stronger wage interdependencies, but it is a gradual process. Moreover, the present study does not support the view that international integration will lead to a "race to the bottom" and rapidly erode domestic labour markets standards, nor that it will relieve politicians of the need to consider labour market reforms to improve labour market performance.
JEL Classification: J38, J68
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation