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European labor market integration: what the experts think

Annabelle Krause (IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Bonn, Germany)
Ulf Rinne (IZA Institute of Labor Economics, Bonn, Germany)
Klaus F. Zimmermann (Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology, United Nations University, Maastricht, The Netherlands) (Center for European Studies, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)

International Journal of Manpower

ISSN: 0143-7720

Article publication date: 2 October 2017




The purpose of this paper is to investigate the current state of the single European labor market (SELM), its related risks and opportunities, and identify useful measures for reaching the goal of increased European labor mobility.


The authors conducted an online survey among European labor market experts (IZA research and policy fellows) on the current state of the SELM, its determinants, and the role of the Great Recession. The authors evaluate the data using descriptive and regression-based methods.


The experts agree on the SELM’s importance, especially for larger economic welfare, but are not convinced that it has been achieved. To enhance labor mobility across Europe, the respondents identify key factors such as recognizing professional qualifications more efficiently, harmonizing social security systems, and knowing several languages. Moreover, at least 50 percent of the respondents consider positive attitudes – by policy makers and citizens alike – toward free mobility to be important to enhance labor mobility.


The IZA Expert Opinion Survey presents a unique opportunity to learn how numerous experts think about the important issue of European labor market integration and moreover constitutes a valuable extension to public opinion surveys on related topics. This survey’s findings provide a sophisticated basis for a discussion about policy options regarding the SELM.



The authors would like to thank the anonymous referees, Martin Kahanec, Margard Ody, Nikos Askitas, and Victoria Finn for helpful support and valuable comments on the earlier versions of this paper. All remaining errors are of the authors.


Krause, A., Rinne, U. and Zimmermann, K.F. (2017), "European labor market integration: what the experts think", International Journal of Manpower, Vol. 38 No. 7, pp. 954-974.



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