A regional account of flexibilization across the EU: The 'Flexible Contractual Arrangements' Composite Index and the impact of recession

Stelios Gialis, Michael Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of the paper is to present a comparative analysis of the diffusion of ‘flexible contractual arrangements’ (FCA) across the EU. The homonymous FCA Composite Index (CI) is calculated for all 200 NUTS II-level regions of France, Germany, the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Bulgaria and Romania. The CI is calculated for 2005, 2008 and 2011 to present a clear picture of causal effects leading up to, and arising from, the 2008 financial crisis and ensuing recession. The findings suggest that the crisis had more intense consequences in certain regions than in others, and thus its effects upon regional labour markets were spatially uneven. Such an unevenness runs along, and cuts across, a variety of scales, namely the global, the EU and the intra-EU ones. All regions that are at the top of the FCA CI ranking are either regions that lack advanced economic and social or welfare structures, while at the same time facing important pressures from international and EU competitors, or regions of highly tertiarized service economies. The paper discusses the relation between this regional hierarchy, and the official policies of EU and national authorities which seek to re-regulate employment protection and security norms according to new accumulation priorities. Furthermore, it outlines several flexibilizing mechanisms that had contributed to the de-stabilization of modes of social reproduction across different regions, and reinforced each other, even many years before the current crisis occurred. The paper ends with some comments on the validity and social relevance of CIs when not be considered as a goal per se.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1121-1146
Number of pages26
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Early online date19 Aug 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Composite indicators
  • EU regions
  • Flexibilization
  • Recession
  • Regional unevenness

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