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The Effects of Labor and Product Market Reforms: The Role of Macroeconomic Conditions and Policies

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  • Romain Duval

    (International Monetary Fund)

  • Davide Furceri

    (International Monetary Fund)

Abstract

The paper estimates the dynamic macroeconomic effects of labor and product market reforms on output, employment and productivity, and explores how these vary with prevailing macroeconomic conditions and policies. We apply a local projection method to a new dataset of major country- and country-sector-level reform shocks in various areas of labor market institutions and product market regulation covering 26 advanced economies over the past four decades. Product market reforms are found to raise productivity and output, but gains materialize only slowly. The impact of labor market reforms is primarily on employment, but it varies across types of reforms and depends on overall business cycle conditions—unlike that of product market reforms. Reductions in labor tax wedges and increases in public spending on active labor market policies have larger effects during periods of slack, in part because they usually entail some degree of fiscal stimulus. In contrast, reforms to employment protection arrangements and unemployment benefit systems have positive effects in good times, but can become contractionary in periods of slack. The economy’s response to such reforms is significantly improved when they are accompanied by fiscal or monetary stimulus.

Suggested Citation

  • Romain Duval & Davide Furceri, 2018. "The Effects of Labor and Product Market Reforms: The Role of Macroeconomic Conditions and Policies," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 66(1), pages 31-69, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:imfecr:v:66:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1057_s41308-017-0045-1
    DOI: 10.1057/s41308-017-0045-1
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • E52 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Monetary Policy, Central Banking, and the Supply of Money and Credit - - - Monetary Policy
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • J21 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Force and Employment, Size, and Structure
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • L43 - Industrial Organization - - Antitrust Issues and Policies - - - Legal Monopolies and Regulation or Deregulation
    • L51 - Industrial Organization - - Regulation and Industrial Policy - - - Economics of Regulation
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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