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Stability versus Flexibility: The Role of Temporary Employment in Labour Adjustment


  • Shutao Cao
  • Danny Leung


In Canada, temporary workers account for 14 per cent of jobs in the non-farm business sector, are present in a range of industries, and account for 40 per cent of the total job reallocation. Yet most models of job reallocation abstract from temporary workers. This paper evaluates the importance of temporary workers in job reallocation in a multi-sector model with costly labour adjustment and temporary workers. The calibrated model captures some features of job reallocation in Canada. The paper shows that the adjustment cost parameters for permanent workers are underestimated if temporary workers are ignored. It also shows that when a shock occurs where permanent workers bear the brunt of reallocation (e.g. the 2005-2008 commodity price boom and the appreciation of the Canadian dollar), aggregate adjustment costs are underestimated if temporary workers are not accounted for.

Suggested Citation

  • Shutao Cao & Danny Leung, 2010. "Stability versus Flexibility: The Role of Temporary Employment in Labour Adjustment," Staff Working Papers 10-27, Bank of Canada.
  • Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:10-27

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alonso-Borrego, César & Fernández-Villaverde, Jesús & Galdon-Sanchez, Jose Enrique, 2004. "Evaluating Labor Market Reforms: A General Equilibrium Approach," IZA Discussion Papers 1129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. José Varejão & Pedro Portugal, 2007. "Employment Dynamics and the Structure of Labor Adjustment Costs," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 137-165.
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    Cited by:

    1. Shutao Cao & Enchuan Shao & Pedro Silos, 2010. "Fixed-term and permanent employment contracts: theory and evidence," FRB Atlanta Working Paper 2010-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

    More about this item


    Labour markets; Productivity;

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions

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