- Flexicurity: a conceptual critique
- European Journal of Industrial Relations
- Volume | Issue number
- 17 | 1
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Law (FdR)
- Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS)
Hugo Sinzheimer Instituut (HSI)
‘Flexicurity’ has become an influential concept in academic and political discourse, in particular since the European Commission placed it at the core of the European Employment Strategy. However, the concept is underdeveloped and suffers from a number of serious shortcomings. In this article we discuss a number of its problematic features. In particular, we focus on four aspects: its ambiguity and openness to political capture; its failure to problematize the creation of institutional complementarities; its lack of attention to conflicts of interest and to the heterogeneity of the labour market; and its reductionist view of the sources of flexibility and security. We illustrate this discussion with a series of empirical examples. Finally, we conclude that the flexicurity approach should either be abandoned, or be substantially improved.
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