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Hat Tip to the PSD Blog for an intriguing story that the mainstream media almost entirely missed today. The president of McDonald's Europe announced in Brussels plans to issue European McDonald's employees a "McPassport" -- a new type of document that could greatly increase the labor mobility of its 225,000 European employees. Christine Bowers at PSD Blog writes:

The McPassport (I'm not making this up) makes its easier for employees to move to another of the roughly 6,000 McDonalds locations in Europe. The document contains detailed information on the employee - such as positions held, dates and salary history - although he or she will still go through an interview before hiring.

I thought this might be a hoax, except that the TheParliament.Com is quoting EU employment commissioner Vladimír Špidla as welcoming the initiative:

“This initiative by McDonald’s is an excellent example of interaction between the creation of a policy and its implementation on the ground,” Špidla argued – although he noted that the company in question is American, not European.

Špidla said that EU governments must urgently work on promoting mobility among their workers – according to commission estimates, two to three million jobs across the EU are not filled in great part because of the lack of mobility among the continents’ workers.

On Friday CGD will release a new book, Let Their People Come: Breaking the Gridlock on Global Labor Mobility, by non-resident fellow Lant Pritchett that argues provocatively (and to me persuasively) that rich country labor markets should be much more open to low-skilled workers from the developing world. Global corporations may turn out to be some of poor people's best allies in pushing for greater labor mobility. Can a global McPassport be far behind?

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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.