Bank of Lithuania

Global perspective on structural labour market reforms in Europe


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Recent turbulent times have once again demonstrated how important flexible product and labour markets are to dampen the effects of adverse economic shocks. A number of labour market reforms have been implemented to enhance economic resilience and flexibility. However, accounting for the efficacy of policy interventions requires going beyond national boundaries and evaluating international interactions and global interdependencies, which may strengthen or weaken economic responses. Concentrating on open European economies, this paper deals with labour market institutions and structural reforms in a general equilibrium framework, which allows to analyse the intricate connections between labour policy choices and international trade (openness), paying special attention to labour market policy shocks. Amid discussions about a fiscal union in Europe, we empirically demonstrate that labour market policies can have positive and negative spillovers to trading partners, thereby calling for coordinated policies within a trading bloc. We answer three types of questions: what would have happened had all economies implemented structural labour market reforms simultaneously? How heterogeneous are responses in a single economy to shocks conducted in every other country? Relatedly, how heterogeneous are responses by all economies to a reform in one given economy?

JEL Codes: C32, C33, E24, F12, F16.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent those of the Bank of Lithuania.

labour structural reforms, global VAR, regional integration