Making the Luxembourg labour market work better

Jeremy Lawson

Rapid economic growth over the past two decades has substantially increased employment in Luxembourg, which has largely been met by in–flows of cross–border workers and, to a lesser extent, immigration.
Unemployment has remained low compared to other European countries. These significant social changes have been absorbed without substantially widening income disparities, facilitated by the generous welfare system made affordable by the strong economy. However, this favourable overall picture masks weaknesses in the design of labour market institutions and social transfers that reduce incentives to work for resident workers.
Despite the strong economy, this has resulted in lower employment rates for certain groups of residents, notably those who are second–earners, younger or older, or from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds. Furthermore, the incentives provided by existing labour market institutions could make adjustment to changed economy prospects more difficult. The functioning and adaptability of the labour market could be improved without undermining social cohesion through a range of related measures. This could include aligning minimum wage adjustments more closely with economic conditions, which could be achieved through a Minimum Wage Council, and softening employment protection legislation. To raise incentives of residents, social benefits should be decoupled from average wages, and social transfers could be reoriented towards in–work social benefits.


Lawson, J. (2010). Making the Luxembourg labour market work better (Economics Department Working Papers Nr. 778). Paris. Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

Verwandte Projekte