The future of European labour markets

Workers face significant challenges in contemporary labour markets. Working lives have become increasingly flexible and uncertain. Flexibility, increased forms of non-standard and part-time hours, the prevalence of temporary work, changing locations of work blur the boundaries between work and life outside of work. Simultaneously, expectations outside of work remain or have become intensified. For example, care responsibilities are growing in their complexity due to social and demographic changes. In this context, what does the future of labour look like?

Mara Yerkes starts from a normative philosophical framework developed by Indian economist and philosopher Amyrta Sen – the capabilities approach – which is often used to evaluate social science phenomena such as gender inequality, work-family balance, life-long learning, occupational disability and young people’s transitions from school to work. This approach will be presented briefly to start an interactive discussion on what the applicability of a capabilities framework means for understanding the future of labour.

What does this mean for Europe? Is there even such a thing as a European labour market? Ronald Dekker will argue that according to principles of subsidiarity labour market regulation is taking place at the national level and EU coordination in this respect has not led to convergence of labour market outcomes or any real integration of labour markets. He claims that we should analyse the future of European labour markets separately, recognizing for instance, that the labour market in Denmark is completely distinct from the labour market in Spain and will remain so for a long time. The real question, according to Dekker is: which policies and institutions will improve labour market outcomes?


  • Ronald Dekker is assistant professor of labour economics at Reflect, Tilburg University. His research interests include labour market dynamics and flexibility, employment security, inclusive labour markets and robotization.
  • Mara Yerkes is Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Science at Utrecht University and honorary research fellow at the Institute for Social Science Research, the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. Her research interests include work, care and family, gender, comparative welfare states, industrial relations, social inequality and women’s employment.

Date and time: 20th of April at 19.00h

Location: Universiteit voor Humanistiek, Kromme Nieuwegracht 29, Utrecht. Room 0.38.


A heart for Europe

Author: Dick Pels*

Combating Violence and Fear

If there is any such thing as European civilization, how can we define it, become more proud of it and defend it more convincingly in the current multiple crisis? It is plain for all to see that the European project is now sailing in bad weather, being threatened both by outside forces and from within. Hence perhaps we should ask in a more desperate tone: what is left of European civilization, and how can we salvage what is left? Continue reading “A heart for Europe”

Citizen University: Politics of fear

In the US presidential election campaign and in political discourse across Europe we are seeing a sharp increase in the use of fear as a political weapon. While this has to some degree always been present in politics, it has acquired new force since 9/11, and is now an established tactic of the populist right, who play upon electorates’ concerns about terrorism and immigration by encouraging xenophobia and Islamophobia.
How can progressives most effectively counter this trend? What lessons can history teach us about the dangers of ‘phobiarchy’ and its links to populist dictatorship? Are these forces more powerful in an age of ‘identity politics’? 

Continue reading “Citizen University: Politics of fear”