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Cross-skill Redistribution and the Tradeoff between Unemployment Benefits and Employment Protection

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  • Tito Boeri
  • J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz
  • Vincenzo Galasso

Abstract

We document the presence of a trade-o. between unemployment benefits (UB) and employment protection legislation (EPL) in the provision of insurance against labor market risk. Di.erent countries’ locations along this trade-o. represent stable, hard to modify, politico-economic equilibria. We develop a model in which voters are required to cast a ballot over the strictness of EPL, the generosity of UBs and the amount of redistribution involved by the financing of unemployment Insurance. Agents are heterogeneous along two dimensions: employment status — insiders and outsiders — and skills — low and high. Unlike previous work on EPL, we model employment protection as an institution redistributing among insiders, notably in favour of the low-skill workers. A key implication of the model is that configurations with strict EPL and low UB should emerge in presence of compressed wage structures. Micro data on wage premia on educational attainments and on the strictness of EPL are in line with our results. We also find empirical support to the substantive assumptions of the model on the e.ects of EPL.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2004-26.

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Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2004-26

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  1. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
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  9. J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, . "Positive Arithmetic of the Welfare State," Working Papers 2003-04, FEDEA.
  10. 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.
  11. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  12. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L., 2001. "Deunionization, technical change and inequality," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 229-264, December.
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  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.
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  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  18. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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