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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 many countries the provisions of EPL are more stringent for firms above certain size thresholds. We construct a simple model that shows that the smooth relation between size and growth probability is interrupted in proximity of the thresholds at which EPL applies differentially. We use a comprehensive longitudinal dataset of all Italian firms, a country with an important threshold at 15 employees, to estimate the effects of EPL in terms of discouraging small firms from growing. We find that the probability of firms ' growth in the proximity of the threshold is reduced by around 2 percentage points. Using the stochastic transition matrix for firm size, we compute the long-run effects of EPL on size distribution. We find that average firm size would increase by less than 1% in steady state when removing the threshold; a quantitatively modest effect.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19956/
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19956.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19956

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

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  1. Verick, Sher, 2004. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Legislation in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  3. Fabiano Schivardi, 2000. "Rigidita nel mercato del lavoro, disoccupazione e crescita," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 59(1), pages 117-143, April.
  4. Saint-Paul, G., 1995. "Employment Protection, International Specialization, and Innovation," DELTA Working Papers 95-31, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  5. Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli & Andrea Borgarello, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," Working Papers 247, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  6. Patrizio Pagano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2001. "Firm Size Distribution and Growth," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 394, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  7. Krishna B. Kumar & Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, 1999. "What Determines Firm Size?," NBER Working Papers 7208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Tito Boeri & Juan F. Jimeno, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," Working Papers 252, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  11. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
  12. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Comparative Analysis of Firm Demographics and Survival: Micro-Level Evidence for the OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 348, OECD Publishing.
  13. Andrea Ichino & Michele Polo & Enrico Rettore, . "Are Judges Biased by Labor Market Conditions?," Working Papers 192, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  14. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
  15. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  16. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  17. Davis, Steven J & Henrekson, Magnus, 1999. " Explaining National Differences in the Size and Industry Distribution of Employment," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 59-83, February.
  18. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  19. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
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