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FRDB Fondazione Rodolfo Debenedetti

fRDB-IZA Social Reforms Database

New (preliminary) version available

17 May 2010



This database has been created thanks to the joint initiative of fRDB and IZA (Institute for the Study of Labour, Bonn) to collect an inventory on core labour market reforms. This new version builds upon the fRDB Social Reforms database, incorporating additional input from international and national sources. It collects information about social reforms in the EU15 countries (except Luxembourg) over the period 1980-2007.

The preliminary version of the database, which is now available from this website, focuses on two areas of reform:
•    Employment Protection Legislation (EPL);
•    Non-Employment Benefits (NEB).
The data, in its final version, will cover also a third policy area: Public Pension Systems (PEN).

The purpose of this project is to develop a comprehensive (i.e. complete both in time and geographically) qualitative database of relevant labour market reforms in European countries. It will allow researchers to benefit from a generally available and comprehensive inventory of labour market reforms, and it will help those researchers who are increasingly interested on qualitative information in deepening their understanding of country specific reform processes.

A core group of researchers at IZA and fRDB assembled information and data, while individual experts on specific topics cross-checked national information for some of the countries included in the dataset (Italy, Spain, Sweden and United Kingdom). We are currently looking for additional funding opportunities in order to establish a flexible network of experts who will be in charge of filling missing details and checking collected information (researchers who are interested in collaborating may contact

Categorical variables as well as other characteristics of the reforms are organized in a STATA file, ready to be used for statistical analysis. A more detailed description of each reform can be found in the related excel file.

Notethe final version of the database is currently under construction jointly by fRDB and IZA! As soon as the latest version of the database is available, it will be uploaded on this webpage. 

Credits: the fRDB-IZA Reforms Database has been developed by Massimo Anelli, Andrea Catania, Gaetano Basso, Tommaso Colussi, Paola Monti, Magdalena Zhelyazkova and Werner Eichhorst. For any further information please write to or contact Paola Monti at

Country expertsAlessandro Corrado (Italy), Maximilian Freier (UK), Virginia Hernanz (Spain),  Giuseppe Messina (Spain), Minna Van Gerven (Sweden).


This database, created by the fRDB, collects information about social reforms in the EU15 Countries (except Luxembourg) over the period 1987-2005. The database focuses on four areas of reform:
•    Employment Protection Legislation (EPL);
•    Public Pension Systems (PEN);
•    Non-Employment Benefits (NEB);
•    Migration Policies (IMM).

Please notice that the EPL and NEB sections of the database have been recently revised and updated (see fRDB-IZA datasets) and a preliminary version is now available from this website. However, in order to allow researchers to have a comparable version of the database in all the four policy areas, the old version of this dataset is still available from this webpage.

The aim of the fRDB Social Reforms Database is to collect qualitative features of reforms. Reforms have been classified along two main dimensions: direction (do they reduce or increase the generosity of pension and NEB systems? Do they make EPL and migration policy more or less stringent?) and scope (are these reforms marginal or radical?). Categorical variables as well as other characteristics of the reforms are organized in a STATA file, ready to be used for statistical analysis. A more detailed description of each reform can be found in the related excel file.

Credits: the fRDB Social Reforms Database has been developed by Giacomo De Giorgi, Elisabetta Frontini, Serena Fumagalli, Francesco Legrenzi, Mauro Maggioni, Francesca Mazzolari and Paola Monti.



The "fRDB Social Reforms database"  has been recently updated. The fRDB database was presented for the first time in March 2007 in Bruxelles, during the workshop "Tracking and Evaluating Labour Market Reforms in Europe”, organized by the European Commission (DG Economic and Financial Affairs). 

More recently, a new (and preliminary) version of the fRDB-IZA database has been presented in Berkeley, in November 2009, and in Paris (OECD), Kiel (Institute for the World Economy) and Madrid (Banco de Espana) during February-May 2010.

The "fRDB Social Reform dataset"  has been used for several scientific publications:

• G. Bertola, T. Boeri, G. Nicoletti, "Welfare and Employment in a United Europe", 2000, MIT Press.
• T. Boeri, "Social Policy: One for All?", 2002, mimeo.
• G. Bertola, T. Boeri, "EMU Labour Markets Two Years On: Microeconomic Tensions and Institutional Evolution", in M. Buti and A. Sapir (eds.), EMU and Economic Policy in Europe: The Challenge of the Early Years, 2001, Edward Elgar, Aldershot.
• P. Garibaldi, P. Mauro, "Anatomy of Employment Growth", Economic Policy, Vol. 17(34), 2002.
• T. Boeri, H. Brücker, "Why European Are So Tough on Migrants?", Economic Policy, Vol. 20(44), 2005.
• W. Eichhorst, P. Monti, "fRDB-IZA Labor Market Reforms Database. Description and User Guide", 2009, mimeo.
• T. Boeri, “Institutional Reforms and Dualism in European Labor Markets”, in Handbook of Labor Economics, Vol. 4B, 2011.
• IMF, World Economic Outlook, April 2010.
• J. Jacobs, "Migration Decisions and the Welfare State: An Analysis of Seven European Countries", Master Thesis, Tilburg University, 2011.

Access to the data

fRDB wants to keep track of users of its Reforms Database as well as of publications based on these data. For this reason, users are required to register in order to obtain free access to the database. Please contact fRDB ( for registration and passwords.