The role and significance of endogenous firing costs in a matching model with endogenous job destruction
Traditional models of the labor market assume fixed firing costs. This paper explores the implications of variable firing costs, building this new assumption into a matching model with endogenous job destruction. The available evidence on the outcomes of cases brought to labor courts suggests that firing costs are negatively related with labor market tightness. In such a case, we may no longer invoke "rigidities" on labor markets as the cause of their poor performance. Our model yields three interesting results. First, labor markets may have multiple equilibria that cannot be Pareto-ordered; each with its own configuration in terms of average duration of unemployment and filled jobs, as well as employment protection. Second, the variability of firing costs produces a positive externality affecting the stability properties of these equilibria. Finally, the two externalities affect the efficiency of the social optimum, modifying the Hosios [Hosios, A.J., 1990. On the efficiency of matching and related models of search and unemployment. Review of Economic Studies 57, 279-298] condition. We use these results to interpret the recent history of European unemployment.
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Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
Issue (Month): 5 (October)
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