ABSTRACT: The article examines whether European countries' collective labour standards are converging and if so why. It presents new data on labour protection in 45 European countries and shows that the EU is a labour standards convergence club. It reviews the soft and hard instruments which the EU adopted in order to promote labour standards. The article models the competition, emulation and learning convergence mechanisms using a spatial econometric approach, and shows that EU countries learn from each other's successes and emulate one another. The article thus presents new evidence of the mixture of domestic and cross-national factors which shape labour standards in Europe. It adds to the growing evidence of countries' spatial dependencies in various policy areas. Most importantly, it provides evidence showing that soft co-ordination is an effective instrument which has had a positive impact on labour standards, and has led to horizontal convergence in the EU.
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© 2015 Taylor & Francis.
- labour standards
- spatial dependency