ABSTRACT

Long-term demographic forecasts point to a major shortage of labour in an aging Europe (see for example Rifkin, 1995). One of a number of proposed solutions is labour immigration. If this type of immigration assumes major proportions we can expect institutional changes in society. A legitimate question in this respect is how welfare systems and labour market arrangements will be affected. In the labour market sector, central government, employers and unions have jointly developed institutions aiming at proper procedure, fair competition and predictability. Corporative arrangements have been a feature of the labour market in several European states. Over the past 20-25 years, liberal market ideas have challenged corporativism and particularly organized union interests. While much has changed during this period, there is reason to ask what the past 50 years have taught us about the relationship between immigration and employment that is worth bearing in mind when discussing future labour immigration or other immigration (see Nelhans, 1973; Lundh and Ohlsson, 1999; Lundqvist, 2002 and 2003).