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Does Employment Protection Create Its Own Political Support?

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  • Björn Brügemann

Abstract

This paper investigates the ability of employment protection to generate its own political support. A version of the Mortensen-Pissarides model is used for this purpose. Under the standard assumption of Nash bargaining, workers value employment protection because it strengthens their hand in bargaining. Workers in high productivity matches benefit most from higher wages as they expect to stay employed for longer. By reducing turnover employment protection shifts the distribution of match-specific productivity toward lower values. Thus stringent protection in the past actually reduces support for employment protection today. Introducing involuntary separations is a way of reversing this result. Now workers value employment protection because it delays involuntary dismissals. Workers in low productivity matches gain most since they face the highest risk of dismissal. The downward shift in the productivity distribution is now a shift towards ardent supporters of employment protection. In a calibrated example this mechanism sustains both low and high employment protection as stationary political outcomes. A survey of German employees provides support for employment protection being more strongly favored by workers likely to be dismissed.
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Suggested Citation

  • Björn Brügemann, 2012. "Does Employment Protection Create Its Own Political Support?," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 369-416, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jeurec:v:10:y:2012:i:2:p:369-416 DOI: j.1542-4774.2011.01045.x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "Uncertainty and the Politics of Employment Protection," IZA Discussion Papers 3509, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Vindigni, Andrea, 2008. "Uncertainty and the politics of employment protection," POLIS Working Papers 106, Institute of Public Policy and Public Choice - POLIS.
    3. Lucifora, Claudio & Moriconi, Simone, 2015. "Political instability and labour market institutions," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 201-221.
    4. Andrea Vindigni & Simone Scotti & Cristina Tealdi, 2015. "Uncertainty and the Politics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 33(1), pages 209-267.
    5. Andrea Vindigni, 2008. "Uncertainty and the Politics of Employment Protection," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 77, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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