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Threshold Effects and Firm Size: the Case of Firing Costs

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  • Fabiano Schivardi
  • Roberto Torrini

Abstract

We study the role of employment protection legislation (EPL) in determining firm size distribution. In manycountries the provisions of EPL are more stringent for firms above certain size thresholds. We construct asimple model that shows that the smooth relation between size and growth probability is interrupted inproximity of the thresholds at which EPL applies differentially. We use a comprehensive longitudinal dataset ofall Italian firms, a country with an important threshold at 15 employees, to estimate the effects of EPL in termsof discouraging small firms from growing. We find that the probability of firms ' growth in the proximity of thethreshold is reduced by around 2 percentage points. Using the stochastic transition matrix for firm size, wecompute the long-run effects of EPL on size distribution. We find that average firm size would increase by lessthan 1% in steady state when removing the threshold; a quantitatively modest effect.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0633.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0633

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Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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Keywords: Firm size distribution; Employment protection; Firing costs;

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