Rapid and radical changes in the labour markets of developed economies have had profound implications for the welfare and well-being of their citizens. This Assessment argues that there is still considerable divergence in labour-market processes and outcomes across countries. This is likely to remain the case. Nevertheless, there is a range of common problems. Important among these are what is happening to the rights of people at work and how they should be protected. Views about appropriate rights have altered in recent years. In the future, debate about this is likely to be even more closely linked to debate about labour-market flexibility. The Assessment goes on to discuss a variety of distributional problems related to joblessness and low pay, and evaluates policy interventions designed to tackle them. Although there has been progress in terms of policy effectiveness, interventions are fragile in helping people to escape from cycles of repeated misfortune and long-term disadvantage. Copyright 2000 by Oxford University Press.