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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Yann Algan & Pierre Cahuc, 2006. "Job Protection: The Macho Hypothesis," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 390-410, Autumn.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxford:v:22:y:2006:i:3:p:390-410

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    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. Nickell, Stephen & Nunziata, Luca & Ochel, Wolfgang & Quintini, Glenda, 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.
    5. McCleary, Rachel & Barro, Robert, 2002. "Religion and Political Economy in an International Panel," Scholarly Articles 3221170, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. 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 1-33, March.
    7. Giuseppe Bertola & Francine Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2007. "Labor market institutions and demographic employment patterns," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(4), pages 833-867, October.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Macurdy, Thomas, 1999. "Labor supply: A review of alternative approaches," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 27, pages 1559-1695 Elsevier.
    9. 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.
    10. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "Why are European Countries Diverging in their Unemployment Experience?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 18(4), pages 49-68, Fall.
    11. 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.
    12. Stulz, Rene M. & Williamson, Rohan, 2003. "Culture, openness, and finance," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 313-349, December.
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    14. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-563, July.
    15. 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.
    16. 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.
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    JEL classification:

    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General


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