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Do Labor Market Rigidities Have Microeconomic Effects? Evidence from within the Firm

  • Francine Lafontaine
  • Jagadeesh Sivadasan

We exploit a unique outlet-level dataset from a multinational chain with over 2,500 outlets in 43 countries to investigate the effects of labor regulations that protect employment. The dataset contains information on output, materials, and labor costs at a weekly frequency over several years, allowing us to examine the consequences of labor market rigidity at a much more detailed level than has been possible to date. We find that higher labor market rigidity is associated with significantly higher levels of hysteresis. We also find some evidence that labor costs are less responsive to sales revenue in more highly regulated markets. (JEL: E24, J08, J23, K31, M51)

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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Applied Economics.

Volume (Year): 1 (2009)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 88-127

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:1:y:2009:i:2:p:88-127
Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.1.2.88
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  1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
  2. Alonso-Borrego, César & Aguirregabiria, Víctor, 2009. "Labor contracts and flexibility : evidence from a labor market reform in Spain," UC3M Working papers. Economics we091811, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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  7. Manuel Arellano & Stephen Bond, 1991. "Some Tests of Specification for Panel Data: Monte Carlo Evidence and an Application to Employment Equations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(2), pages 277-297.
  8. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
  9. Hamermesh, Daniel S. & Pfann, Gerard Antonie, 1996. "Adjustment Costs in Factor Demand," CEPR Discussion Papers 1371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Zvi Griliches & Jerry A. Hausman, 1984. "Errors in Variables in Panel Data," NBER Technical Working Papers 0037, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Haltiwanger, John & Scarpetta, Stefano & Schweiger, Helena, 2006. "Assessing job flows across countries : the role of industry, firm size, and regulations," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4070, The World Bank.
  12. Im, Kyung So & Pesaran, M. Hashem & Shin, Yongcheol, 2003. "Testing for unit roots in heterogeneous panels," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(1), pages 53-74, July.
  13. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
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  15. Paola Rota, 2004. "Estimating Labor Demand with Fixed Costs," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 45(1), pages 25-48, 02.
  16. Nickell, Stephen J, 1981. "Biases in Dynamic Models with Fixed Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1417-1426, November.
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