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Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe

REC-WP 01 / 09

Flexicurity – a state-of-the art review

Elke Viebrock and Jochen Clasen

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The notion of ‘flexicurity’ promises to overcome the tensions between labour market flexibility on the one hand and social security on the other hand by offering ‘the best of both worlds’. In this review the development of the concept will be set against the background of changed economic circumstances in the last two decades. The principal components of flexicurity are presented, followed by a review of ‘real worlds of flexicurity’ in selected European countries, with Denmark and the Netherlands as the most prominent examples. The subsequent section considers the transferability of flexicurity policies across borders. Finally, we concentrate on collective actors involved in promoting the idea of flexicurity and conclude with a discussion of some tensions within and criticisms of the concept.


Flexicurity; Labour Market Policy; Unemployment benefits; Employment Protection