Labour Economics in an European Perspective


Labour markets are a crucial part of all societies: their outcomes affect the workers, the economy and all the other sectors of the society. All industries have to deal with employment, wages and productivity and the very organisation of production depends on the organisation of labour. Even outside the economic area, labour markets affect the whole society: wages and employment affect political outcomes and policy actions; well-being or social exclusion may emerge as a consequence of labour outcomes; and, in addition, labour markets conditions determine people mobility and migration.

The importance of labour markets has been greatly acknowledged within the European integration process: in the Treaty of European Union several references to this are made and among the stated aim there are reaching high level of employment, social protection and fighting social exclusion.

In the working of labour markets it is important to stress the role of the institutions that regulate it: wage bargaining, employment protection and labour policies (and several others) affect this market. As matter of facts, labour issues are at the centre of social and political debates and several reforms of these markets are or have been in the agenda of several countries and of the very European Commission. Employment protection legislation, the role of unions and active and passive labour policies are recent examples of this.

Given these premises, there is the need to develop and disseminate the discipline of Labour Economics in a perspective that highlights how the topics within this subject should be applied in a context of a union of states in general and of the EU in particular. Our course will wrap together all these issues providing an homogeneous treatment of this subject: it will provide students with solid background and tools in theoretical and empirical labour economics and then will apply them to understand the institutions within the different European countries and at the central, coordinated, European level.

Some aspects that are particularly relevant for European union will receive great emphasis: active and passive labour polices; workers mobility and migration; productivity, income and social exclusion; industrial relations and their consequences on economic activity. Finally, an overview of empirical issues related to labour markets will be covered