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Employment Protection: Tough to Scrap or Tough to Get?

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  • Brugemann, Bjorn

    (Yale U)

Abstract

Differences in employment protection across countries appear to be quite persistent over time. One mechanism that could explain this persistence is the so called constituency effect: high employment protection creates a mass of workers in favor of maintaining high protection because deregulation would mean that they would lose their jobs. To the extent that this mechanism is at work, employment protection would appear to be a policy that is difficult to deregulate once it has been introduced. In this paper I consider an alternative mechanism generating persistence that makes employment protection a policy that is difficult to introduce. If a legislative process is initiated to introduce employment protection, it is reasonable to assume that firms have an opportunity to lay off workers before employment protection becomes effective. Firms would have an incentive to do so in order to avoid the cost associated with stringent employment protection in the future. Anticipating this, workers whose situation is already precarious may not find it in their best interest to support the legislative process to introduce employment protection in the first place. The main result of the paper is that the ability of firms to adjust employment before an increase in employment protection becomes effective may give rise to situations in which both low and high employment protection are stationary political outcomes.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Yale University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 21.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:yaleco:21

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  1. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Working Papers 121, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  2. Gilles Saint Paul, 1999. "The political economy of employment protection," Economics Working Papers 355, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  3. Pierre Cahuc & Yann Algan, 2004. "Job protection: the Macho Hypothesis?," Sciences Po publications 1192, Sciences Po.
  4. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/8807 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  6. Christine Jolls & J.J. Prescott, 2004. "Disaggregating Employment Protection: The Case of Disability Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 10740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working papers 98-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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Cited by:
  1. Bozkaya, Ant & Kerr, William R., 2013. "Labor regulations and European venture capital," Research Discussion Papers 30/2013, Bank of Finland.
  2. Andrea Vindigni & Cristina Tealdi, 2012. "Uncertainty and the Politics of Employment Protection," Working Papers 6/2012, IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, revised May 2013.
  3. Koeniger, Winfried & Prat, Julien, 2006. "Employment Protection, Product Market Regulation and Firm Selection," IZA Discussion Papers 1960, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Acharya, Viral V. & Baghai-Wadji, Ramin & Subramanian, Krishnamurthy, 2009. "Labor Laws and Innovation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7171, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Salvatori, Andrea, 2010. "Labour contract regulations and workers' wellbeing: International longitudinal evidence," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 667-678, August.
  6. Lawrence Kahn, 2010. "Labor Market Policy: A Comparative View on the Costs and Benefits of Labor Market Flexibility," CESifo Working Paper Series 3140, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. ANT Bozkaya & William R. Kerr, 2009. "Labor Regulations and European Private Equity," Working Papers CEB 09-055.RS, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  8. Kahn, Lawrence M., 2007. "Employment Protection Reforms, Employment and the Incidence of Temporary Jobs in Europe: 1995–2001," IZA Discussion Papers 3241, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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