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Why Do Firms Use Fixed-Term Contracts?

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  • Portugal, Pedro

    ()
    (Banco de Portugal)

  • Varejão, José

    ()
    (University of Porto)

Abstract

Temporary forms of employment account for a variable but never trivial share of total employment in both the U.S. and in Europe. In this article we look at how one specific form of temporary employment − employment with fixed-term contracts − fits into employers' hiring policies. We find that human capital variables (schooling, skills and employer-provided training) as measured at the levels of the worker and the workplace are important determinants of the employers’ decisions to hire with fixed-term contracts and to promote temporary workers to permanent positions. Those employers that hire more with fixed-term contracts are also those that are more likely to offer a permanent position to their newly-hired temporary employees. Our results indicate that fixed-term contracts are used as mechanisms for screening workers for permanent positions.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4380.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4380

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Keywords: fixed-term contracts; adjustment costs; labor demand;

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References

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  1. Güell, Maia & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2003. "How Binding Are Legal Limits? Transitions from Temporary to Permanent Work in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 782, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Augustin Landier, 2001. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labor Market Reform: Fixed Duration Contracts in France," NBER Working Papers 8219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448, November.
  4. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Burgess, Simon & Lane, Julia & Stevens, David, 1995. "Job Flows, Worker Flows and Churning," CEPR Discussion Papers 1125, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Susan N. Houseman, 2000. "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 01-67, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  7. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1999. "The Entry And Exit Of Workers And The Growth Of Employment: An Analysis Of French Establishments," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(2), pages 170-187, May.
  8. Serrano, Carlos Garcia, 1998. "Worker Turnover and Job Reallocation: The Role of Fixed-Term Contracts," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 709-25, October.
  9. 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.
  10. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Jeff Frank, 2002. "Temporary Jobs: Stepping Stones Or Dead Ends?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F189-F213, June.
  11. J. M. R. Murteira & Joao M. C. Santos Silva, 2000. "Estimation of Default Probabilities Using Incomplete Contracts Data," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1121, Econometric Society.
  12. Hamermesh, Daniel S & Wolfe, John R, 1990. "Compensating Wage Differentials and the Duration of Wage Loss," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S175-97, January.
  13. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, December.
  14. Hunt, Jennifer, 2000. "Firing Costs, Employment Fluctuations and Average Employment: An Examination of Germany," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(266), pages 177-202, May.
  15. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2000. "Work transitions into and out of involuntary temporary employment in a segmented market: Evidence from Spain," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 309-325, January.
  16. Eric Maurin, 2000. "The European Paradox : Do Flexible Contracts Create Rigid Labor Markets ?," Working Papers 2000-07, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  17. repec:fth:inseep:2000-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
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