Call for Paper Panel – Cross-border workers and cross-border labour markets

Chairs: Rachid Belkacem (University of Lorraine) and Isabelle Pigeron-Piroth (University of Luxembourg)

With the European construction, the mobility of workers inside the European space increased and diversified. Free movement of workers (and more generally people) is one of the conditions for a European labour market without barriers.

In border areas of eastern and western Europe, mobilities (mainly, but not restricted to, employment) are the most intensive and have increased considerably. For example, the Greater Region SaarLorLux, a cross-border space including Luxembourg, two German regions (Saarland and Rhineland-Palatinate), a French region (Lorraine), and a Belgian region (Wallonia) has 225 000 cross-border commuters. This rise of cross-border flows is evident in many European border areas.

This panel of the  2nd World Conference of the Association for Borderlands Studies would like to focus on cross-border workers and cross-border labour markets  through different points of view: theoretical, empirical or both.

From a theoretical perspective, what could be the most appropriate framework to analyse and explain cross-border work? Is the approach in terms of markets a suitable way to understand cross-border work? In this framework, differences between supply and demand (on both sides of the borders) would be the main explanation of cross-border flows of workers.  Could the segmented markets approach constitute an alternative approach? By explaining the difference between “protected” cross-border workers and vulnerable ones (insiders-outsiders)? Other theoretical approaches can be used, such as the Theory of Regulation, where cross-border work can be seen as a socio-historical construction, through rules, institutions, agreements, and practices.
From an empirical perspective, different questions can be developed. Cross-border work not only increased but also diversified. What could be the economic, social, political and territorial explanations of this rise and diversification? Which types of cross-border commuters show the greatest increase? Empirical communications could try to answer the following questions: inside a border space, what are the evolutions of cross-border work? Who are the cross-border commuters? How do they participate in the local economic and social life? What are the consequences of this increase on the economic and social development in border areas? What are the practices and habits of individuals when they are looking for a job on the other side of the border? What are their own perceptions about their situation? Also, what are the perceptions of the other groups of workers?  Communications about obstacles to cross-border mobility of workers are welcome. Do cross-border labour markets exist in Europe? And to what extent are they integrated?

Please send proposals to: and

Deadline for proposals: 10.09.2017

Proposal structure:
•    Title of the talk
•    Speaker(s)
•    Abstract max. 500 words (incl. bibliography)
•    4-5 keywords
•    Contact information (name, university affiliation, institute, mailing address, email)
•    Biographical information (max. 300 words)
•    Papers should be in English.







Gijsel P. (de), Janssen M., Wenzel H.-J., Woltering M., 1999 (eds.), Understanding European Cross-border labour markets. Issues in economic cross-border relations. Marburg : Metropolis-Verlag.


Jorens Y., Minderhoud, P., De Coninck, J., Comparative Report – Frontier workers in the EU, Report prepared under Contract No VC/2013/0300 - FreSsco , January 2015