The University of Edinburgh -

Working Papers on the Reconciliation of Work and Welfare in Europe

REC-WP 10 / 09

Measuring Flexicurity at the Macro Level - Conceptual and Data Availability Challenges.

Fabio Bertozzi and Giuliano Bonoli

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This working paper provides a critical discussion of attempts that have been made in recent years to measure the concept of flexicurity. It begins by addressing some conceptual aspects, looking in particular at different interpretations and definitions of the term flexicurity that one can find in the academic and policy literature. It then moves on to consider a number of problems involved in quantifying the dimensions included in the concept of flexicurity. These include the gap between formal rules and actual implementation of labour market regulation, the selective character of both flexibility and security and the existence of feedback effects between flexibility and security and vice-versa. The next two sections deal more directly with measurement issued, focusing on indicators pertaining to the various dimensions of flexicurity and to a number of flexicurity indexes that have been elaborated by researchers. The paper concludes by point out the limits of quantitative approaches in accounting for complex phenomena like flexicurity, and encourages researchers to complement the knowledge produced by indicators with more qualitative tools, such as typologies and fine grained accounts of polices.


Flexicurity; unemployment benefits; employment protection; active labour market policy; measurement