IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/kap/empiri/v51y2024i1d10.1007_s10663-023-09585-w.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

Employment protection and labour productivity growth in the EU: skill-specific effects during and after the Great Recession

Author

Listed:
  • Igor Fedotenkov

    (European Commission, B7)

  • Virmantas Kvedaras

    (European Commission, B1)

  • Miguel Sanchez-Martinez

    (International Labour Organization)

Abstract

Does employment protection affect sectoral productivity growth differently during crises and recovery periods? This paper sheds light into this question by investigating the relationship between employment protection legislation (EPL hereafter) and sectoral labour productivity growth in the EU in the context of the Great Recession. We consider the crisis and recovery periods, evaluate the relevance of both levels and changes in EPL for productivity growth, and explore the conditioning role played by sectoral differences in terms of cumulativeness of knowledge as well as the skills of the labour force, captured by different levels of education. We find that stricter labour protection reduces labour productivity growth in sectors with a large share of workers with tertiary education, whereas this effect is negligible or positive in sectors where workers with secondary or only primary education are more prevalent (such as agriculture, mining and quarrying). We attribute this to a more intensive labour hoarding in the former, as EPL strengthens labour hoarding in sectors that rely on firm-specific knowledge accumulation and skilled human capital that are difficult to substitute with physical capital. Whereas it is simple to dismiss (and to find later) unskilled employees. They not only can be substituted more easily with capital, but also the costs of their firing are lower, they are overrepresented among workers holding temporary contracts, and they might be unequally informed and able to exercise their rights. This leads to low (if any) labour hoarding and little impact of EPL on labour productivity in such sectors. We also document that the negative effect is prominent only during the crisis, and an increase in the stringency of EPL over an extended period stimulates employers to substitute labour with investments in physical and knowledge capital.

Suggested Citation

  • Igor Fedotenkov & Virmantas Kvedaras & Miguel Sanchez-Martinez, 2024. "Employment protection and labour productivity growth in the EU: skill-specific effects during and after the Great Recession," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 51(1), pages 209-262, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:51:y:2024:i:1:d:10.1007_s10663-023-09585-w
    DOI: 10.1007/s10663-023-09585-w
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://link.springer.com/10.1007/s10663-023-09585-w
    File Function: Abstract
    Download Restriction: Access to the full text of the articles in this series is restricted.

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1007/s10663-023-09585-w?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Andrea Bassanini & Luca Nunziata & Danielle Venn, 2009. "Job protection legislation and productivity growth in OECD countries [Appropriate growth policy: a unifying framework]," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 24(58), pages 349-402.
    2. Luca Pieroni & Fabrizio Pompei, 2008. "Evaluating innovation and labour market relationships: the case of Italy," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 32(2), pages 325-347, March.
    3. Alfred Kleinknecht, 2017. "Supply-side labour market reforms: a neglected cause of the productivity crisis," Working Papers 0027, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    4. Franco Malerba & Luigi Orsenigo, 1996. "Technological Regimes and Firm Behaviour," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Giovanni Dosi & Franco Malerba (ed.), Organization and Strategy in the Evolution of the Enterprise, chapter 2, pages 42-71, Palgrave Macmillan.
    5. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Do Employment Protections Reduce Productivity? Evidence from U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 12860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Peneder, Michael, 2010. "Technological regimes and the variety of innovation behaviour: Creating integrated taxonomies of firms and sectors," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(3), pages 323-334, April.
    7. Hoxha, Sergei & Kleinknecht, Alfred, 2020. "When labour market rigidities are useful for innovation. Evidence from German IAB firm-level data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(7).
    8. Leandro Medina & Friedrich Schneider, 2019. "Shedding Light on the Shadow Economy: A Global Database and the Interaction with the Official One," CESifo Working Paper Series 7981, CESifo.
    9. Balázs Égert & Peter Gal, 2017. "The quantification of structural reforms in OECD countries: A new framework," OECD Journal: Economic Studies, OECD Publishing, vol. 2016(1), pages 91-108.
    10. Gabriele Ciminelli & Romain Duval & Davide Furceri, 2022. "Employment Protection Deregulation and Labor Shares in Advanced Economies," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1174-1190, November.
    11. Ronald Bachmann & Rahel Felder, 2021. "Correction to: Labour market transitions, shocks and institutions in turbulent times: a cross-country analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 48(3), pages 801-802, August.
    12. Robert VERGEER & Alfred KLEINKNECHT, 2014. "Do labour market reforms reduce labour productivity growth? A panel data analysis of 20 OECD countries (1960–2004)," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 153(3), pages 365-393, September.
    13. Bassanini, Andrea & Garnero, Andrea, 2013. "Dismissal protection and worker flows in OECD countries: Evidence from cross-country/cross-industry data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 25-41.
    14. Michèle Belot & Jan Boone & Jan Van Ours, 2007. "Welfare‐Improving Employment Protection," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(295), pages 381-396, August.
    15. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2002. "Employment protection, international specialization, and innovation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 375-395, February.
    16. Hausman, Jerry & Palmer, Christopher, 2012. "Heteroskedasticity-robust inference in finite samples," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(2), pages 232-235.
    17. Rosario Sanchez & Luis Toharia, 2000. "Temporary workers and productivity: the case of Spain," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 583-591.
    18. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Roberto Ganau, 2022. "Institutions and the productivity challenge for European regions," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(1), pages 1-25.
    19. Breschi, Stefano & Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 2000. "Technological Regimes and Schumpeterian Patterns of Innovation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(463), pages 388-410, April.
    20. Robert Vergeer & Steven Dhondt & Alfred Kleinknecht & Karolus Kraan, 2015. "Will ‘structural reforms’ of labour markets reduce productivity growth? A firm-level investigation," European Journal of Economics and Economic Policies: Intervention, Edward Elgar Publishing, vol. 12(3), pages 300—317-3, December.
    21. Kristel Jacquier, 2015. "Temporary employment protection reforms and productivity: evidence from an industry-level panel of EU countries," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-01169260, HAL.
    22. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2016. "Employment Protection Legislation, Capital Investment and Access to Credit: Evidence from Italy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(595), pages 1798-1822, September.
    23. Poschke, Markus, 2009. "Employment protection, firm selection, and growth," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1074-1085, November.
    24. repec:iza:izawol:journl:y:2014:p:12 is not listed on IDEAS
    25. Domenico Lisi, 2013. "The impact of temporary employment and employment protection on labour productivity: evidence from an industry-level panel of EU countries [Einfluss von befristeter Beschäftigung und Kündigungsschu," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 46(2), pages 119-144, August.
    26. Kristel Jacquier, 2015. "Temporary employment protection reforms and productivity: evidence from an industry-level panel of EU countries," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 15028, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    27. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, June.
    28. Domenico Lisi & Miguel A. Malo, 2017. "The impact of temporary employment on productivity [Auswirkungen befristeter Beschäftigung auf die Produktivität]," Journal for Labour Market Research, Springer;Institute for Employment Research/ Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), vol. 50(1), pages 91-112, August.
    29. Stefano Scarpetta, 2014. "Employment protection," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-12, May.
    30. Fabio Berton & Francesco Devicienti & Sara Grubanov-Boskovic, 2016. "Employment protection legislation and mismatch: evidence from a reform," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 151, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    31. Alfred Kleinknecht & Zenlin Kwee & Lilyana Budyanto, 2016. "Rigidities through flexibility: flexible labour and the rise of management bureaucracies," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Cambridge Political Economy Society, vol. 40(4), pages 1137-1147.
    32. Marcela Kantová & Markéta Arltová, 2020. "Emerging from crisis: Sweden’s active labour market policy and vulnerable groups," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 31(4), pages 543-564, December.
    33. Ryan Banerjee & Boris Hofmann, 2022. "Corporate zombies: anatomy and life cycle," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 37(112), pages 757-803.
    34. Scarpetta, Stefano & Tressel, Thierry, 2004. "Boosting productivity via innovation and adoption of new technologies : any role for labor market institutions?," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 29144, The World Bank.
    35. Bena, Jan & Ortiz-Molina, Hernán & Simintzi, Elena, 2022. "Shielding firm value: Employment protection and process innovation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(2), pages 637-664.
    36. Bjuggren, Carl Magnus, 2018. "Employment protection and labor productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 138-157.
    37. Robert Vergeer & Alfred Kleinknecht, 2010. "The impact of labor market deregulation on productivity: a panel data analysis of 19 OECD countries (1960-2004)," Journal of Post Keynesian Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 33(2), pages 371-408, January.
    38. Chen, Chung-Jen & Huang, Jing-Wen, 2009. "Strategic human resource practices and innovation performance -- The mediating role of knowledge management capacity," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 104-114, January.
    39. Shae McCrystal, 2008. "Re-imagining the Role of Trade Unions after WorkChoices," The Economic and Labour Relations Review, , vol. 18(2), pages 63-70, May.
    40. Ronald Bachmann & Rahel Felder, 2021. "Labour market transitions, shocks and institutions in turbulent times: a cross-country analysis," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 48(2), pages 329-352, May.
    41. Samuel Bentolila & Juan J. Dolado, 1994. "Labour Flexibility and Wages: Lessons from Spain," Working Papers wp1994_9406, CEMFI.
    42. MacKinnon, James G. & White, Halbert, 1985. "Some heteroskedasticity-consistent covariance matrix estimators with improved finite sample properties," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 305-325, September.
    43. Malerba, Franco & Orsenigo, Luigi, 1997. "Technological Regimes and Sectoral Patterns of Innovative Activities," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press and the Associazione ICC, vol. 6(1), pages 83-117.
    44. Heywood, John S. & O'Mahony, Mary & Siebert, W. Stanley & Rincon-Aznar, Ana, 2018. "The Impact of Employment Protection on the Industrial Wage Structure," IZA Discussion Papers 11788, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    45. Stefano Breschi & Francesco Lissoni, 2009. "Mobility of skilled workers and co-invention networks: an anatomy of localized knowledge flows," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(4), pages 439-468, July.
    46. Francis, Bill B. & Kim, Incheol & Wang, Bin & Zhang, Zhengyi, 2018. "Labor law and innovation revisited," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 1-15.
    47. Bjuggren, Carl Magnus, 2013. "The Effect of Employment Protection Rules on Firm Productivity - A Natural Experiment," HUI Working Papers 82, HUI Research, revised 30 Oct 2013.
    48. Müge Adalet McGowan & Dan Andrews, 2016. "Insolvency Regimes And Productivity Growth: A Framework For Analysis," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1309, OECD Publishing.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Elisabetta Croci Angelini & Francesco Farina & Silvia Sorana, 2024. "The Impact of the Great Recession on Well-Being across Europe Ten Years On: A Cluster Analysis," Economies, MDPI, vol. 12(5), pages 1-17, May.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2016. "Human capital, employment protection and growth in Europe," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 213-230.
    2. Bottasso, Anna & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2017. "Firm dynamics and employment protection: Evidence from sectoral data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(C), pages 35-53.
    3. Hoxha, Sergei & Kleinknecht, Alfred, 2020. "When labour market rigidities are useful for innovation. Evidence from German IAB firm-level data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(7).
    4. Bratti, Massimiliano & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2019. "Employment Protection and Firm-Provided Training: Quasi-Experimental Evidence from a Labour Market Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 12773, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Bratti, Massimiliano & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2021. "Employment protection and firm-provided training in dual labour markets," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    6. Maria De Paola & Roberto Nisticò & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2020. "Fertility Decisions And Employment Protection: The Unintended Consequences Of The Italian Jobs Act," Working Papers 202003, Università della Calabria, Dipartimento di Economia, Statistica e Finanza "Giovanni Anania" - DESF.
    7. Stéphane Auray & Samuel Danthine & Markus Poschke, 2020. "Understanding the Determination of Severance Pay: Mandates, Bargaining, and Unions," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(3), pages 1073-1111, July.
    8. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "The effects of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries [Technology and labour regulations]," Economic Policy, CEPR, CESifo, Sciences Po;CES;MSH, vol. 25(61), pages 117-163.
    9. Auray, Stéphane & Danthine, Samuel & Poschke, Markus, 2014. "Mandated versus Negotiated Severance Pay," IZA Discussion Papers 8422, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Alfred Kleinknecht, 2017. "Supply-side labour market reforms: a neglected cause of the productivity crisis," Working Papers 0027, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    11. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/65dh65gjnn96rqgo52mg09a1uu is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Bjuggren, Carl Magnus, 2018. "Employment protection and labor productivity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 138-157.
    13. Bottasso, Anna & Bratti, Massimiliano & Cardullo, Gabriele & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2023. "Labor Market Regulation and Firm Adjustments in Skill Demand," IZA Discussion Papers 16262, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    14. Jian Ding & Yixiao Zhou, 2021. "Did the Labor Contract Law Affect the Capital Deepening and Efficiency of Chinese Private Firms?," China & World Economy, Institute of World Economics and Politics, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, vol. 29(5), pages 105-126, September.
    15. Mirella Damiani & Fabrizio Pompei & Andrea Ricci, 2011. "Temporary job protection and productivity growth in EU economies," Quaderni del Dipartimento di Economia, Finanza e Statistica 87/2011, Università di Perugia, Dipartimento Economia.
    16. Bratti, Massimiliano & Conti, Maurizio & Sulis, Giovanni, 2018. "Employment Protection, Temporary Contracts and Firm-Provided Training: Evidence from Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 11339, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Marco Bee & Julien Hambuckers, 2020. "Modeling multivariate operational losses via copula-based distributions with g-and-h marginals," DEM Working Papers 2020/3, Department of Economics and Management.
    18. Diego Daruich & Sabrina Di Addario & Raffaele Saggio, 2023. "The Effects of Partial Employment Protection Reforms: Evidence from Italy," The Review of Economic Studies, Review of Economic Studies Ltd, vol. 90(6), pages 2880-2942.
    19. Etienne Wasmer & Alexandre Janiak, 2014. "Employment protection and capital-labor ratios," Sciences Po Economics Discussion Papers 2014-11, Sciences Po Departement of Economics.
    20. Bjuggren, Carl Magnus, 2013. "The Effect of Employment Protection Rules on Firm Productivity - A Natural Experiment," HUI Working Papers 82, HUI Research, revised 30 Oct 2013.
    21. repec:hal:spmain:info:hdl:2441/2ennjqtovk8lvprrqlro5ni69v is not listed on IDEAS
    22. Tan, Youchao & Liu, Xiumei & Sun, Hanwen & Zeng, Cheng(Colin), 2022. "Population ageing, labour market rigidity and corporate innovation: Evidence from China," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(2).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Labour productivity; Employment protection legislation; Skills; Education; Great Recession;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J88 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Public Policy

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:kap:empiri:v:51:y:2024:i:1:d:10.1007_s10663-023-09585-w. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Sonal Shukla or Springer Nature Abstracting and Indexing (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.springer.com .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.