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Assessing the political viability of labor market reform : the case of employment protection


  • Gilles Saint-Paul


We analyze the political support for employment protection legislation. Unlike my previous work on the same topic, this paper pays a lot of attention to the role of obsolescence in the growth process. In voting in favour of employment protection, incumbent employees trade off lower living standards (because employment protection maintains workers in less productive activities) against longer job duration. The support for employment protection will then depend on the value of the latter relative to the cost of the former. We highlight two key deeterminants of this trade-off: first, the workers' bargaining power, second, the economy's growth rate-more precisely its rate of creative destruction.
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Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Saint-Paul, 1999. "Assessing the political viability of labor market reform : the case of employment protection," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 73-87.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedlrv:y:1999:i:may:p:73-87:n:3

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    2. Daniel Cohen & Arnaud Lefranc & Gilles Saint-Paul, 1997. "French unemployment: a transatlantic perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 265-292, October.
    3. Olivier Blanchard & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "What Hides Behind an Umemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 6636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    5. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-1368, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, "undated". "Cross-skill Redistribution and the Tradeoff between Unemployment Benefits and Employment Protection," Working Papers 2004-26, FEDEA.
    2. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2012. "The Political Economy Of Flexicurity," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 10(4), pages 684-715, August.
    3. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, "undated". "Protecting Against Labour Market Risk: Employment Protection or Unemployment Benefits?," Working Papers 2003-17, FEDEA.
    4. Anesi, Vincent & De Donder, Philippe, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection," CEPR Discussion Papers 7333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Silvia Ardagna & Vincenzo Galasso, 2011. "The Euro and Structural Reforms," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 2(1).
    6. Vincent Anesi & Philippe De Donder, 2013. "A coalitional theory of unemployment insurance and employment protection," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 52(3), pages 941-977, April.
    7. Matteo Cacciatore & Giuseppe Fiori, 2016. "The Macroeconomic Effects of Goods and Labor Marlet Deregulation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 20, pages 1-24, April.
    8. Luca Nunziata & Stefano Staffolani, 2001. "On Short-Term Contracts Regulations," Economics Papers 2001-W7, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.

    More about this item


    Labor market;

    JEL classification:

    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers


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