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Fixed-Term and Permanent Employment Contracts: Theory and Evidence

  • Shutao Cao
  • Enchuan Shao
  • Pedro Silos

This paper constructs a theory of the coexistence of fixed-term and permanent employment contracts in an environment with ex-ante identical workers and employers. Workers under fixed-term contracts can be dismissed at no cost while permanent employees enjoy labor protection. In a labor market characterized by search and matching frictions, firms find it optimal to discriminate by offering some workers a fixedterm contract while offering other workers a permanent contract. Match-specific quality between a worker and a firm determines the type of contract offered. We analytically characterize the firm’s hiring and firing rules. Using matched employer-employee data from Canada, we estimate the model’s parameters. Increasing the level of firing costs increases wage inequality and decreases the unemployment rate. The increase in inequality results from a larger fraction of temporary workers and not from an increase in the wage premium earned by permanent workers.

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Paper provided by Bank of Canada in its series Working Papers with number 11-21.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:bca:bocawp:11-21
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  1. Danielle Venn, 2009. "Legislation, Collective Bargaining and Enforcement: Updating the OECD Employment Protection Indicators," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
  2. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 2000. "Labor-Market Policies in an Equilibrium Search Model," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 265-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Renato Faccini, 2014. "Reassessing Labour Market Reforms: Temporary Contracts as a Screening Device," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(575), pages 167-200, 03.
  4. 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).
  5. Chernozhukov, Victor & Hong, Han, 2003. "An MCMC approach to classical estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 293-346, August.
  6. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J, 2004. "Empirical Labour Search: A Survey," CEPR Discussion Papers 4199, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Cahuc, Pierre & Postel-Vinay, Fabien & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2003. "Wage Bargaining with On-The-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 4154, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 2005. "Fixed term employment contracts in an equilibrium search model," Working Paper Series WP-05-14, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Mariano Bosch & Julen Esteban-Pretel, 2009. "Cyclical Informality and Unemployment," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-613, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  10. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  11. Bontemps, Christian & Robin, Jean-Marc & Van den Berg, Gerard J, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model with Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 40(4), pages 1039-74, November.
  12. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  13. James Mabli & Christopher Flinn, 2007. "On-the-Job Search, Minimum Wages, and Labor Market Outcomes in an Equilibrium Bargaining Framework," 2007 Meeting Papers 791, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  14. Etienne Wasmer, 1997. "Competition for Jobs in a Growing Economy and the Emergence of Dualism," Working Papers 97-15, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1990. "Estimating a Market Equilibrium Search Model from Panel Data on Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 783-808, July.
  16. Eric F. Smith, 2007. "Limited Duration Employment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 444-471, July.
  17. Shutao Cao & Danny Leung, 2010. "Stability versus Flexibility: The Role of Temporary Employment in Labour Adjustment," Working Papers 10-27, Bank of Canada.
  18. Cahuc, Pierre & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2002. "Temporary jobs, employment protection and labor market performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 63-91, February.
  19. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F214-F244, June.
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