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Special issue on Labour market flexibility and spatial mobility

Special issue call for papers from International Journal of Manpower

 International Journal of Manpower (IJM) is pleased to announce a special issue focused on labour market flexibility and spatial (labour) mobility. The special issue will examine different aspects of labour market flexibility, spatial mobility of workforce and its effects on labour market flexibility, factors influencing both labour market flexibility and spatial mobility, role of education and/or life-long learning for certain aspects of labour market flexibility and spatial mobility. The special issue aims to offer a range of economic, social and cultural perspectives on issues of labour market flexibility and spatial mobility in different countries (country groups) during different economic cycles (e.g. booms and crises). Special issue will focus on three main research fields: how labour flexibility is linked with spatial mobility; how formal education and lifelong learning affect labour market flexibility; and how educational and labour policy and different institutional settings contribute to labour market flexibility and mobility during different economic cycles.

Aims & Scope of the special issue

Labour market flexibility as an issue of competitiveness of a country has become even more important in the context of recent economic recession and thus the concept must be linked with spatial mobility. Job related commuting is the most effective way for overcoming a jobs-people mismatch, especially since migration literature presents growing evidence not only of decreased intensity of permanent migrations, but also increased daily mobility. Emigration and return migration are very important in understanding labour market adjustments for changing macroeconomic conditions (as happened in Baltic countries and Ireland during recent recession or in Greece due to its weak economic outlook).

Both labour market flexibility and labour mobility are directly influenced by educational settings. It is well established in the literature that educated migrants are not crowding out domestic labour, on the contrary, they have a value added effect on the domestic labour market (Wadhwa et al., 2008). It is also known that a more educated workforce is more open to lifelong learning (Jenkins et al., 2002; OECD, 2001). Through new knowledge and skills the labour force becomes more flexible and more open for occupational mobility. If people work abroad they increase not only the wellbeing of their families (through remittances), but also their human capital by acquiring new knowledge and skills.

The purpose of the special issue is to cover some research caps in the existing literature. For example, there is still little research on interactions between education settings and labour market flexibility (one exception is Eichhorst et al 2009); between spatial mobility and labour market flexibility, despite the fact that some authors (e.g. Monastiriotis, 2005; Paas and Eamets, 2007) find that labour mobility is an essential part of labour market flexibility.

The key themes and topics that we would like to explore include some of (but are not limited to) the following:

  • different aspects of labour market flexibility such as: occupational mobility, working time flexibility, functional flexibility, wage flexibility, and their effects on links to spatial mobility and education
  • role of human capital in labour mobility processes during different economic periods (e.g. booms and crises)
  • interactions between labour market flexibility and spatial mobility
  • role of formal education and lifelong learning for certain aspects of labour market flexibility
  • knowledge and workers' flows in Europe
  • ``brain-drain'', ``brain-waste'' and ``brain-gain'' in East-West migration.

  • Papers on any of these or associated topics are welcome; the IJM is an empirically-based research journal though the Guest Editors will be pleased to consider theoretical as well as empirical research papers for the special issue. While there is no preference for any specific research paradigm, innovative research methodologies adopted to collect and analyze the data and cases are welcomed.

    This call is open and competitive, and the submitted papers will be blind reviewed in the normal way. Submission will be taken to imply that a paper contains original work that has not previously been published and is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Authors should follow the journal’s regular guidelines, as published in every issue of the journal. Authors should make an effort to keep within the IJM word length guidelines of 7500 words including references.


    September 2, 2013: Submission of full papers

    January 15, 2014: Editorial decision

    2014: Anticipated publication of the special issue


    Submissions to the International Journal of Manpower are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts, the online submission and peer review system. Registration and access is available at Full information and guidance on using ScholarOne Manuscripts is available at the Emerald ScholarOne Manuscripts Support Centre: Please also look at author guidelines at journal home page


    Raul Eamets, Ph.D, professor, University of Tartu, Estonia (

    Kaia Philips, Ph.D, associate professor, University of Tartu, Estonia (

    Krista Jaakson, Ph.D, researcher University of Tartu, Estonia (

    [email protected])[email protected]e)[email protected])