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The Effects of Reducing Firing Costs in Spain: A Lost Opportunity?


  • Osuna Victoria

    () (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)


In the mid 80's, many European countries liberalized the use of fixed-term (temporary) contracts in order to lower firm's non-wage labor costs, instead of reducing firing costs associated with indefinite duration (permanent) contracts. This policy generated segmented labor markets. The Spanish case is the most striking, with a share of temporary employment of 33% by the mid 90's. Since then, several reforms have been suggested and in this paper I quantify some of their effects. First, I build a model of job creation and destruction of the search and matching type that is able to generate the main properties of a segmented labor market like the Spanish one. Then, I use his model to quantify the effects of removing procedural wages, and further reductions in firing costs associated with permanent contracts. The main results are: (i) a small increase in permanent job destruction, (ii) a significant reduction in temporary job destruction, mainly driven by the increase in job conversions from temporary contracts into permanent ones, and (iii) a significant reduction in labor market segmentation measured as the reduction in the wage gap of temporary versus permanent workers.

Suggested Citation

  • Osuna Victoria, 2005. "The Effects of Reducing Firing Costs in Spain: A Lost Opportunity?," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 5(1), pages 1-29, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejmac:v:contributions.5:y:2005:i:1:n:5

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mortensen, Dale T. & Pissarides, Christopher A., 1999. "Job reallocation, employment fluctuations and unemployment," Handbook of Macroeconomics,in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 18, pages 1171-1228 Elsevier.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cervini-Plá, María & Ramos, Xavier & Ignacio Silva, José, 2014. "Wage effects of non-wage labour costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 113-137.
    2. Hector Sala & José I. Silva & Manuel Toledo, 2012. "Flexibility at the Margin and Labor Market Volatility in OECD Countries," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(3), pages 991-1017, September.
    3. Ignacio García Pérez, J. & Osuna, Victoria, 2014. "Dual labour markets and the tenure distribution: Reducing severance pay or introducing a single contract," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(C), pages 1-13.
    4. Alonso-Borrego, César & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Galdon-Sanchez, Jose Enrique, 2004. "Evaluating Labor Market Reforms: A General Equilibrium Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 1129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Silva, José I. & Vázquez-Grenno, Javier, 2013. "The ins and outs of unemployment in a two-tier labor market," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 161-169.
    6. University of Pennsylvania & Ludo Visschers, 2007. "Employment Uncertain and Wage Contracts," 2007 Meeting Papers 547, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    7. Hector Sala & José I. Silva, 2005. "The relevance of Post-Match LTC: Why has the Spanish labor market become as volatile as the US one?," Working Papers wpdea0515, Department of Applied Economics at Universitat Autonoma of Barcelona.
    8. Victoria Osuna & J. García-Pérez, 2015. "On the Effectiveness of Short-time Work Schemes in Dual Labor Markets," De Economist, Springer, vol. 163(3), pages 323-351, September.

    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
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J42 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Monopsony; Segmented Labor Markets
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand


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