OECD Economics Department Working Papers

Working papers from the Economics Department of the OECD that cover the full range of the Department’s work including the economic situation, policy analysis and projections; fiscal policy, public expenditure and taxation; and structural issues including ageing, growth and productivity, migration, environment, human capital, housing, trade and investment, labour markets, regulatory reform, competition, health, and other issues.

The views expressed in these papers are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the OECD or of the governments of its member countries.

English, French

Making the Luxembourg Labour Market Work Better

Rapid economic growth over the past two decades has substantially increased employment in Luxembourg, which has largely been met by in–flows of cross–border workers and, to a lesser extent, immigration. Unemployment has remained low compared to other European countries. These significant social changes have been absorbed without substantially widening income disparities, facilitated by the generous welfare system made affordable by the strong economy. However, this favourable overall picture masks weaknesses in the design of labour market institutions and social transfers that reduce incentives to work for resident workers. Despite the strong economy, this has resulted in lower employment rates for certain groups of residents, notably those who are second–earners, younger or older, or from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, the incentives provided by existing labour market institutions could make adjustment to changed economic prospects more difficult. The functioning and adaptability of the labour market could be improved without undermining social cohesion through a range of related measures. This could include aligning minimum wage adjustments more closely with economic conditions, which could be achieved through a Minimum Wage Council, and softening employment protection legislation. To raise incentives of residents, social benefits should be decoupled from average wages, and social transfers could be reoriented towards in–work social benefits. This Working Paper relates to the 2010 Economic Survey of Luxembourg. (www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/Luxembourg)


Keywords: labour supply, Luxembourg, labour market institutions, wage-setting
JEL: J2: Labor and Demographic Economics / Demand and Supply of Labor; J3: Labor and Demographic Economics / Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs; J5: Labor and Demographic Economics / Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining; J6: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers; J0: Labor and Demographic Economics / General
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