The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
Labor markets in the Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia) are characterized by some of the highest unemployment and low employment rates in Europe. We analyze the poor labor market outcomes in these countries by comparison with the New Member States of the European Union and advanced European economies. Our findings suggest that long-lasting labor market weaknesses in the Western Balkans have structural roots: the institutional setup of the labor markets, labor cost factors, and especially the unfinished transition process. Finally, we offer policy recommendations for boosting job creation.