Who benefits and who loses when a common market for labour is extended to more countries? Explain using:
EU experience, in particular after the 2004 enlargement
The labour mobility problems that are created when a common market for labour is extended to more countries have been a major concern of the European Union when considering expansion because member states have always feared their economies would suffer due to the cheap labour coming from poorer nations. Considering the fact that the recent expansion added ten members eight of which have significantly lower wages than other countries and large labour forces makes this concern even more pertinent. Since labour mobility is part of the core freedoms in the Union, the Treaty of Rome that was put into effect in 1958 committed member states to allow for the free movement of labour. This implied that nothing would stop labour from moving within member states and there will be no discrimination against workers based on their nationality, provided the nation is within the customs union. Even though the European Union has always had a great extent of labour mobility, the reason why the nations already within the union fear the consequences of the extension of the common market for labour after the enlargement are the rising unemployment rates observed in recent years. This is mainly because in the EU the job market has only grown by 0.5% from 1980 to 1993 as opposed to the 1% observed in Japan and the 1.5% observed in the US. This essay will therefore assess the extent to which the fears of the European Union have realistic foundations or not.
In order to determine the effects of creating a common market for labour we first must see how wages are determined within these economies and why they differ. Wages are determined by the marginal productivity of the last labour unit employed because a firm can only afford to hire workers if they generate enough output to cover the costs of employing...