Comparative Economic Studies

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 6–19

Education and Employment Opportunities for the Roma

  • Niall O'Higgins
  • Andrey Ivanov
Roma Symposium

DOI: 10.1057/palgrave.ces.8100147

Cite this article as:
O'Higgins, N. & Ivanov, A. Comp Econ Stud (2006) 48: 6. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ces.8100147


The Roma more than anyone else lost out in the transition to the market economy in the countries of Central and South Eastern Europe. Their unemployment rate is 100 per cent in some rural areas and the Roma's dependence on government benefits is widespread. This article takes a look at unemployment and employment among the Roma on the basis of two surveys completed in 2002 and 2004. It is shown that lack of formal education cannot provide a full explanation of the relatively high unemployment rates faced by Roma and that at least part of the problem arises from discrimination in employment. Roma are also disproportionately employed in low-quality jobs in the informal sector. The paper argues that programmes aimed at combatting labour market and income disadvantages of the Roma must be based on the development of opportunities for autonomous income generation rather than the public works temporary employment programmes currently prevalent.


Roma education employment South Eastern Europe 

JEL Classifications

J15 J23 P27 

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan Ltd 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niall O'Higgins
    • 1
  • Andrey Ivanov
    • 2
  1. 1.CELPE & CSEF, Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche (DiSES), Università degli Studi di SalernoSalernoItaly
  2. 2.United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Regional Centre, Europe and the CISBratislavaSlovakia