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Job Protection: The Macho Hypothesis

  • Yann Algan
  • Pierre Cahuc

This paper shows that the stringency of employment protection in Mediterranean countries can be partly explained by cultural values embedded in religion. Both the security provided by this legislation and its redistributive effects in favour of the male breadwinner insiders fit into the framework of Mediterranean religions. First, international individual surveys allow us to document that Catholics and Muslims are more likely to agree with traditional gender division of work than Protestants and the non-religious. Second, we develop a political economy model predicting that employment protection should be more stringent in countries where there is a larger share of insiders supportive of traditional family values. We then show that this prediction is supported by empirical evidence on OECD countries over the period 1970--99. Copyright 2006, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by Oxford University Press in its journal Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 22 (2006)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 390-410

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Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:22:y:2006:i:3:p:390-410
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  1. Carmen Pagés-Serra & James J. Heckman, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," Research Department Publications 4227, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  2. Rene M. Stulz & Rohan Williamson, 2001. "Culture, Openness, and Finance," NBER Working Papers 8222, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
  4. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2002. "The Political Economy of Employment Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 672-701, June.
  5. Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Churchgoing and Other Background Factors to the Socioeconomic Performance of Black Male Youths from Inner-City Tracts," NBER Chapters, in: The Black Youth Employment Crisis, pages 353-376 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Richard Blundell & Thomas MaCurdy, 1998. "Labour supply: a review of alternative approaches," IFS Working Papers W98/18, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  7. Tito Boeri & J.Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2003. "Protecting Against Labour Market Risk: Employment Protection or Unemployment Benefits?," Working Papers 239, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  8. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel & Glenda Quintini, 2001. "The Beveridge curve, unemployment and wages in the OECD from the 1960s to the 1990s - preliminary version," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20113, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Guiso, Luigi & Sapienza, Paola & Zingales, Luigi, 2003. "People's opium? Religion and economic attitudes," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 225-282, January.
  10. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2004. "Why are European Countries Diverging in their Unemployment Experience?," IDEI Working Papers 269, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
  11. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  12. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2002. "Labor Market Institutions and Demographic Employment Patterns," NBER Working Papers 9043, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Robert J. Barro & Rachel M. McCleary, 2002. "Religion and Political Economy in an International Panel," NBER Working Papers 8931, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2000), pages 109-154, August.
  15. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005, May.
  16. Richard B. Freeman, 1985. "Who Escapes? The Relation of Church-Going & Other Background Factors to the Socio-Economic Performance of Blk. Male Yths. from Inner-City Pvrty Tracts," NBER Working Papers 1656, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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