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Employment Protection, Technology Choice, and Worker Allocation

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  • Bartelsman, Eric

    ()
    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • Gautier, Pieter

    ()
    (VU University Amsterdam)

  • De Wind, Joris

    ()
    (VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

Using a country-industry panel dataset (EUKLEMS) we uncover a robust empirical regularity, namely that high-risk innovative sectors are relatively smaller in countries with strict employment protection legislation (EPL). To understand the mechanism, we develop a two-sector matching model where firms endogenously choose between a safe technology with known productivity and a risky technology with productivity subject to sizeable shocks. Strict EPL makes the risky technology relatively less attractive because it is more costly to shed workers upon receiving a low productivity draw. We calibrate the model using a variety of aggregate, industry and micro-level data sources. We then simulate the model to reflect both the observed differences across countries in EPL and the observed increase since the mid-1990s in the variance of firm performance associated with the adoption of information and communication technology. The simulations produce a differential response to the arrival of risky technology between low- and high-EPL countries that coincides with the findings in the data. The described mechanism can explain a considerable portion of the slowdown in productivity in the EU relative to the US since 1995.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4895.

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Length: 48 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4895

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Keywords: employment protection legislation; exit costs; information and communications technology; heterogeneous productivity; sectoral allocation;

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  1. Poschke, Markus, 2007. "Employment Protection, Firm Selection, and Growth," IZA Discussion Papers 3164, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Rasmus Lentz & Dale T. Mortensen, 2005. "An Empirical Model of Growth Through Product Innovation," Boston University - Department of Economics - Working Papers Series WP2005-004, Boston University - Department of Economics.
  3. Roberto M. Samaniego, 2006. "Employment Protection and High-Tech Aversion," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(2), pages 224-241, April.
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  7. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  8. 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.
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  13. Bart van Ark & Mary O'Mahoney & Marcel P. Timmer, 2008. "The Productivity Gap between Europe and the United States: Trends and Causes," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(1), pages 25-44, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric J. Bartelsman & John C. Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2009. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," NBER Working Papers 15490, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Bassanini, Andrea & Garnero, Andrea, 2012. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in OECD Countries: Evidence from Cross-Country/Cross-Industry Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6535, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Ritzen, Jo & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2013. "A Vibrant European Labor Market with Full Employment," IZA Policy Papers 73, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Carlos Miguel Silva & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "The Impacts of Structural Changes in the Labor Market: a Comparative Statics Analysis Using Heterogeneous-agent Framework," CEF.UP Working Papers 1104, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
  5. Olivér KOVÁCS, 2013. "Black swans or creeping normalcy? – An attempt to a holistic crisis analysis," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4, pages 127-143, June.
  6. Eric J. Bartelsman, 2010. "Searching for the sources of productivity from macro to micro and back," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1891-1917, December.
  7. Chad Syverson, 2010. "What Determines Productivity?," NBER Working Papers 15712, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Hyytinen, Ari & Maliranta, Mika, 2011. "Firm Lifecycles and External Restructuring," Discussion Papers 1253, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.

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