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Labor market reforms, job instability, and the flexibility of the employment relationship

  • Matouschek, Niko
  • Ramezzana, Paolo
  • Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric

We endogenize separation in a search model of the labor market and allow for bargaining over the continuation of employment relationships following productivity shocks to take place under asymmetric information. In such a setting separation may occur even if continuation of the employment relationship is privately efficient for workers and firms. We show that reductions in the cost of separation, owing for example to a reduction in firing taxes, lead to an increase in job instability and, when separation costs are initially high, may be welfare decreasing for workers and firms. We furthermore show that, in response to an exogenous reduction in firing taxes, workers and firms may switch from rigid to flexible employment contracts, which further amplifies the increase in job instability caused by policy reform.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 19-36

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:53:y:2009:i:1:p:19-36
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  1. Burguet, Roberto & Caminal, Ramon & Matutes, Carmen, 2002. "Golden cages for showy birds: Optimal switching costs in labor contracts," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(7), pages 1153-1185, July.
  2. Chris Pissarides, 2008. "Employment Outcomes in the Welfare State," 2008 Meeting Papers 1096, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Moen, Espen R, 1997. "Competitive Search Equilibrium," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 385-411, April.
  4. César Alonso-Borrego & Jesús Fernández-Villaverde & José E. Galdón-Sánchez, 2004. "Evaluating Labor Market Reforms: A General Equilibrium Approach," Economics Working Papers we042307, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  5. Niko Matouschek, 2004. "Ex Post Inefficiencies in a Property Rights Theory of the Firm," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 20(1), pages 125-147, April.
  6. Cesar Alonso-Borrego & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Jose Galdon-Sanchez, 2004. "Evaluating Labor Market Reforms: A General Equilibrium Approach," Working Papers 866, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  7. Schmitz, Patrick W., 2004. "Job protection laws and agency problems under asymmetric information," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(5), pages 1027-1046, October.
  8. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  9. Faig, Miquel & Jerez, Belen, 2005. "A theory of commerce," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 122(1), pages 60-99, May.
  10. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Severance payments in an economy with frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 477-498, June.
  11. Moen, Espen R & Rosén, Åsa, 2006. "Incentives in Competitive Search Equilibrium and Wage Rigidity," CEPR Discussion Papers 5554, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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