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Technology and Labor Regulations

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Joseph Zeira

Abstract

Many low skilled jobs have been substituted away for machines in Europe, or eliminated, much more so than in the US, while technological progress at the "top", i.e. at the high-tech sector, is faster in the US than in Europe. This paper suggests that the main difference between Europe and the US in this respect is their different labor market policies. European countries reduce wage flexibility and inequality through a host of labor market regulations, like binding minimum wage laws, permanent unemployment subsidies, firing costs, etc. Such policies create incentives to develop and adopt labor saving capital intensive technologies at the low end of the skill distribution. At the same time technical change in the US is more skill biased than in Europe, since American skilled wages are higher. In the last few years some partial labor market reforms in Europe may have started to slow down or even reverse this trend.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12581.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12581

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Bental, Benjamin & Demougin, Dominique, 2010. "Declining labor shares and bargaining power: An institutional explanation," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(1), pages 443-456, March.
  2. Binyamin Berdugo & Sharon Hadad, 2008. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Innovation and Growth when Workers' Ability is Unknown? – Employment Protection as a Burden on a Firm's Screening Process," DEGIT Conference Papers c013_004, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
  3. Menon, Nidhiya, 2011. "Got Technology? The Impact of Computers and Cell Phones on Productivity in a Difficult Business Climate: Evidence from Firms with Female Owners in Kenya," IZA Discussion Papers 5419, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Acemoglu, Daron, 2009. "When Does Labor Scarcity Encourage Innovation?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7247, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Cappellari, Lorenzo & Dell'Aringa, Carlo & Leonardi, Marco, 2012. "Temporary Employment, Job Flows and Productivity: A Tale of Two Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 6526, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Zsófia L. Bárány, 2011. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality - The Effects of Education and Technology," CEP Discussion Papers dp1076, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  7. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "The effects of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 25, pages 117-163, 01.
  8. Binyamin Berdugo & Sharon Hadad, 2008. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Innovation And Growth When Workers’ Ability Is Unknown – Employment Protection As A Burden On A Firm’S Screening Process," Working Papers 0812, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Department of Economics.
  9. Amin, Mohammad, 2009. "Are labor regulations driving computer usage in India's retail stores?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 45-48, January.
  10. Correa, Paulo G. & Fernandes, Ana M. & Uregian, Chris J., 2008. "Technology adoption and the investment climate : firm-level evidence for Eastern Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4707, The World Bank.
  11. Nidhiya Menon, 2010. "Obstacles to Business, Technology Use, and Firms with Female Principal Owners in Kenya," Working Papers 20, Brandeis University, Department of Economics and International Businesss School.
  12. Barbosa, Natália & Faria, Ana Paula, 2011. "Innovation across Europe: How important are institutional differences?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1157-1169.
  13. Berdugo, Binyamin & Hadad, Sharon, 2008. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Innovation and Growth when Workers' Ability is Unknown? – Employment Protection as a Burden on a Firm's Screening Process," MPRA Paper 11410, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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