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Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation

Listed author(s):
  • Marco Leonardi
  • Giovanni Pica

This paper estimates the effect of employment protection legislation (EPL) on workers' individual wages in a quasi-experimental setting, exploiting a reform that introduced unjust-dismissal costs in Italy for firms below 15 employees and left firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. Accounting for the endogeneity of the treatment status, we find that the slight average wage reduction (between -0:4 and -0:1 percent) that follows the increase in EPL hides highly heterogeneous effects. Workers who change firm during the reform period suffer a drop in the entry wage, while incumbent workers are left unaffected. Results also indicate that the negative wage effect of the EPL reform is stronger on young blue collars and on workers at the low-end of the wage distribution. Finally, workers in low-employment regions suffer higher wage reductions after the reform. This pattern suggests that the ability of the employers to shift EPL costs onto wages depends on workers' and firms' relative bargaining power.

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Article provided by Royal Economic Society in its journal The Economic Journal.

Volume (Year): 123 (2013)
Issue (Month): 12 (December)
Pages: 1236-1278

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Handle: RePEc:ecj:econjl:v:123:y:2013:i:12:p:1236-1278
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