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Trade and the (dis)incentive to reform labor markets: The case of reform in the European Union

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  • Alessandria, George
  • Delacroix, Alain

Abstract

We study the relation between international trade and the gains to reform labor markets by removing firing restrictions. We find that trade linkages imply substantially smaller benefits to reform than those calculated in the closed economy general equilibrium model of Hopenhayn and Rogerson [Hopenhayn, Hugo, Rogerson, Richard, 1993. Job Turnover and policy evaluations: a general equilibrium analysis. Journal of Political Economy 101 (5), 915-938 October]. When economies trade, labor market policies in one country spill over to other countries through their effect on the terms of trade. A key finding in the open economy is that the share of the welfare gains from domestic labor market reform exported substantially exceeds the share of goods exported. Thus, with international trade, a country retains little to no benefit from unilaterally reforming its labor market. A coordinated elimination of firing taxes yields considerable benefits. We also find that the U.K. benefits from labor market reform by its continental trading partners. These insights provide some explanation for recent efforts toward labor market reform in the European Union.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 75 (2008)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 151-166

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:75:y:2008:i:1:p:151-166

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Wolf-Heimo Grieben & Fuat Sener, 2009. "Labor Unions, Globalization, and Mercantilism," CESifo Working Paper Series 2889, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. George Alessandria & Alain Delacroix, 2004. "Trade and the (Dis) Incentive to Reform Labor Markets: The Case of Reform in the European Union," 2004 Meeting Papers 460, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  4. Dao, Mai Chi, 2013. "Foreign labor costs and domestic employment: What are the spillovers?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(1), pages 154-171.
  5. Claudia Busl & Atilim Seymen, 2013. "(Spillover) Effects of Labour Market Reforms in Germany and France," WWWforEurope Working Papers series 8, WWWforEurope.
  6. Delacroix, Alain & Wasmer, Etienne, 2009. "Layoff Costs and Efficiency with Asymmetric Information," IZA Discussion Papers 4524, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Alain Delacroix & Etienne Wasmer, 2007. "Job and Workers Flows in Europe and the US: Specific Skills or Employment Protection?. Midwest Macroeconomics Meetings 2007, April 27-29, 2007, Cleveland, Ohio," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/9938, Sciences Po.
  8. Busl, Claudia & Seymen, Atılım, 2013. "The German labour market reforms in a European context: A DSGE analysis," ZEW Discussion Papers 13-097, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.

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