17 Jun 2013

Agricultural Labour Market Flexibility in the EU and Candidate Countries

Jason Loughrey / Trevor Donnellan / Kevin Hanrahan / Thia Hennessy

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Factor markets that function well are a crucial condition for the competitiveness and growth of agriculture. Institutions and regulation may give rise to agricultural labour market heterogeneity, which could have important effects on the functioning of the labour market and other agricultural factor markets in EU member states.

This paper first defines the institutional framework for the labour market, and then presents a brief literature review of previous studies of labour market institutional frameworks. Based on the literature, a survey to characterise agricultural labour markets was undertaken, which was implemented for a selection of EU27 and EU candidate countries, with responses based on expert opinion. The survey data were then used to construct indices of labour market flexibility/rigidity for the countries examined. These indices were used to make inter-country labour market comparisons and to draw inferences about the institutions and functioning of the agricultural labour market.

Jason Loughrey, Trevor Donnellan, Kevin Hanrahan and Thia Hennessy are researchers at the Rural Economy Research Centre, Teagasc, Athenry, Ireland.