On the Political Economy of Labour Market Flexibility
AbstractThis paper starts from the observation that despite their very high levels of unemployment, major European countries have devoted few resources to reducing it. This suggests that there is little political concern about high unemployment. I develop a model where the government tries to increase employment by increasing labour market flexibility, and where any reform must pass majority voting. It is shown that the employed will block a complete reform of the labour market. A two-tier system will eventually generate consensus over the reform, however. In the long run, when the two-tier system prevails, political support gradually builds up in favour of further increases in flexibility. This creates a time-consistency problem, however, putting bounds on the reform that can be implemented ex ante . The model may generate complementarities between the economic system and the political system and lead to multiple equilibria. I also review various pieces of evidence, which lend support to the hypotheses brought up in the paper.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 803.
Date of creation: Aug 1993
Date of revision:
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Other versions of this item:
- Gilles Saint-Paul, 1993. "On the Political Economy of Labor Market Flexibility," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1993, Volume 8, pages 151-196 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Saint-Paul, G., 1993. "On the Political Economy of Labor Market Flexibility," DELTA Working Papers 93-02, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
- D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
- D74 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Conflict; Conflict Resolution; Alliances
- D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy-Making and Implementation
- E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution
- J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
- J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
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- Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1991. "Dynamic labor demand with dual labor markets," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 219-222, June.
- Alesina, Alberto, 1987. "Macroeconomic Policy in a Two-party System as a Repeated Game," Scholarly Articles 4552531, Harvard University Department of Economics.
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- Bean, Charles R, 1994.
"European Unemployment: A Survey,"
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- Dewatripont, M & Roland, G, 1992. "Economic Reform and Dynamic Political Constraints," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(4), pages 703-30, October.
- Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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