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Flexible Labour, Firm Performance and the Dutch Job Creation Miracle

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Listed:
  • Alfred Kleinknecht
  • Remco Oostendorp
  • Menno Pradhan
  • C. W. M. Naastepad

Abstract

Unlike internal ('functional') forms of flexibility of labour, external ('numerical') forms of flexibility (i.e. high shares of people on temporary contract or a high turnover of personnel) yield substantial savings on a firm's wage bill. Savings on wage bills lead to higher job growth, but do not translate into higher sales growth. Externally flexible labour appears to be related to lower labour productivity growth, the effects being different for innovating vs non-innovating firms. We discuss these findings from firm-level and worker-level data against the background of the Dutch job creation miracle during the 1980s and 1990s. Modest wage increases and flexibilization of labour markets may indeed create lots of jobs. However, this is likely to happen at the expense of labour productivity growth, raising serious doubts about the long-run sustainability of a low-productivity-high-employment growth path.

Suggested Citation

  • Alfred Kleinknecht & Remco Oostendorp & Menno Pradhan & C. W. M. Naastepad, 2006. "Flexible Labour, Firm Performance and the Dutch Job Creation Miracle," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(2), pages 171-187.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:irapec:v:20:y:2006:i:2:p:171-187 DOI: 10.1080/02692170600581102
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Philip Du Caju & Catherine Fuss & Ladislav Wintr, 2012. "Downward Wage Regidity for Different Workers and Firms," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 55(1), pages 5-32.
    2. Park, Sangwon & Yaduma, Natina & Lockwood, Andrew J. & Williams, Allan M., 2016. "Demand fluctuations, labour flexibility and productivity," Annals of Tourism Research, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 93-112.
    3. Kato, Masatoshi & Zhou, Haibo, 2018. "Numerical labor flexibility and innovation outcomes of start-up firms: A panel data analysis," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 69(C), pages 15-27.
    4. Grassi, Emanuele & Di Cintio, Marco, 2012. "Uncertainty, flexible labour relations and R&D expenditure," MPRA Paper 37646, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Muhammad Imran Malik & Dr. Mehboob Ahmad, 2011. "Lucky or Unlucky people: Layoff Survivors," Far East Journal of Psychology and Business, Far East Research Centre, vol. 2(2), pages 23-35, March.
    6. Alex Bryson, 2013. "Do temporary agency workers affect workplace performance?," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 39(2), pages 131-138, April.
    7. repec:aia:aiaswp:wp115 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Fuss, Catherine, 2008. "How do firms adjust their wage bill in Belgium? A decomposition along the intensive and extensive margins," Working Paper Series 854, European Central Bank.
    9. Schiersch, Alexander, 2016. "Considering the (Un)observed: temporary agency work in productivity estimations," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145749, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    10. Wachsen, Eva & Blind, Knut, 2016. "More labour market flexibility for more innovation? Evidence from employer–employee linked micro data," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 45(5), pages 941-950.
    11. Sebastian NIELEN & Alexander SCHIERSCH, 2016. "Productivity in German manufacturing firms: Does fixed-term employment matter?," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 155(4), pages 535-561, December.
    12. Larisa Smirnykh, 2016. "Is Flexible Labor Good for Innovation? Evidence from Russian Firm-level Data," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 10(4), pages 60-70.
    13. Sebastian Nielen & Alexander Schiersch, 2014. "Temporary Agency Work and Firm Competitiveness: Evidence from German Manufacturing Firms," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 365-393, July.
    14. Stelios Gialis & Eleutheria Karnavou, 2008. "Dimensions of Atypical Forms of Employment in Thessaloniki, Greece," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 32(4), pages 882-902, December.
    15. Addessi, William & Saltari, Enrico & Tilli, Riccardo, 2014. "R&D, innovation activity, and the use of external numerical flexibility," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 612-621.
    16. Pasquale Tridico, 2012. "Italy from economic decline to the current crisis," Working Papers 0005, ASTRIL - Associazione Studi e Ricerche Interdisciplinari sul Lavoro.
    17. Michael Beckmann & Dieter Kuhn, 2012. "Flexibility vs. screening: The performance effects of temporary agency work strategies," Working papers 2012/03, Faculty of Business and Economics - University of Basel.
    18. Alfred Kleinknecht, 2014. "Schaden Strukturreformen des Arbeitsmarkts der Innovation?," Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft - WuG, Kammer für Arbeiter und Angestellte für Wien, Abteilung Wirtschaftswissenschaft und Statistik, vol. 40(3), pages 417-428.
    19. Sangyup Choi & Davide Furceri & Yi Huang & Prakash Loungani, 2016. "Aggregate Uncertainty and Sectoral Productivity Growth; The Role of Credit Constraints," IMF Working Papers 16/174, International Monetary Fund.
    20. Addessi, William, 2014. "The productivity effect of permanent and temporary labor contracts in the Italian manufacturing sector," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 666-672.
    21. Lindič, Jaka & Bavdaž, Mojca & Kovačič, Helena, 2012. "Higher growth through the Blue Ocean Strategy: Implications for economic policy," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 928-938.
    22. Fuss, Catherine, 2009. "What is the most flexible component of wage bill adjustment? Evidence from Belgium," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 320-329, June.
    23. Alexander Schiersch, 2015. "TFP, Labor Productivity and the (Un)observed Labor Input: Temporary Agency Work," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1532, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    24. repec:dgr:tudemi:20101 is not listed on IDEAS

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