Flexible Labour in Inflexible Environment: Reforms of Labour Market Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Comparative Perspective

In the light of current socio-economic reforms in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), policy study “Flexible Labour in Inflexible environment” analyzes current trends, the dynamics and important institutes of BiH labor market in a comparative perspective.

Themes: Human RightsGovernance and Service DeliverySocial Welfare
Mirna JusićFlexible Labour in Inflexible Environment: Reforms of Labour Market Institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina in Comparative Perspective


BiH Labour Market suffers from a number of structural problems and deficiencies. The existing organizaton of the labor market, in line with generally poor macroeconomic environment and other socioeconomic factors, results in a low level of absorption of the labor force, later reflected in high and mostly long-term unemployment (especially youth unemployment), low employment rate, and low share of working age population in the labor market.

Thus, in recent years, the question of labor market reforms joined the agenda of decision makers in BiH. However, the question arises whether the current reform proposals have taken into account the current institutional setting of the labor market in Bosnia and Herzegovina or the way to which reform measures could impact the performance of the labor market. The focus of the current proposals to reform the labor market in BiH is to make more flexible working conditions, while less attention is paid to other important measures, such as improving the policy and institutional framework for the employment, security of workers in the event of unemployment, improvement of mechanisms of collective bargaining and the development of training and education programs. In other words, many important elements of the labor market have been largely neglected in the current discourse on the change of policy in this area.

In order to better understand the institutional context of the labor market in BiH, the reform needs and options as well as their possible implications for BiH economy and society, the Centre for Social Research Analitika publishes a report which focuses on the analysis of the characteristics and performances of the most important institutes of BiH labor market, placed in the broader conceptual and comparative framework. The comparative experiences of other European countries are taken into account in order to discuss the possible reform paths, but also to understand the interactions between various institutional and other contextual factors on the performance of the labor market and the country's economy in general.

This publication was prepared with the assistance of the Open Society Fund BiH, as a part of the project Reforms out of Contexts? Comparative Analysis of European and BiH Labor Markets