Comparative reports on the relationship between labour market regulation and labour market processes face the difficulty of combining both aspects adequately. The analysis of these processes tends to dominate research at the national level. It assumes that the major elements of the institutional background are sufficiently known and, therefore, require no further explanation. Most comparative evaluations of fixed-term employment focus on comparisons of specific features and changes of regulation (Walwei 1991, OECD 1993, 1997, Meulders et al. 1994). Some studies deal almost exclusively with data collection (European Union Foundation for the Impro:vement of Living and Working Conditions 1992) or try to assemble descriptive information on the socio-economic characteristics of fixed-term and permanent employees (OECD 1993,1997, Meulders et al. 1994, Delsen 1995). The comparisons are carried out at a high level of abstraction and the analysis of labour market processes frequently lacks the depth which can be achieved at the country level.