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Short Employment Spells in Italy, Germany and the UK: Testing the Port of Entry Hypothesis


  • B Contini
  • l Pacelli
  • C Villosio


This paper looks at short employment spells in three European countries: Great Britain, whose labour market is considered the most flexible in the EU; Italy, regarded as the least flexible; and Germany, tightly regulated, but characterised by a deservedly famous apprenticeship system. In particular, it aims to assess whether young people in short-lived jobs stand a better chance of finding a 'good job' compared to their older colleagues. The increasingly held belief that - in modern economies - a 'bad job' at the beginning of one's career is the 'port-of-entry' to stable employment and to upward mobility, makes this assessment particularly relevant; ie it matters greatly if short-duration jobs are entry ports into better employment or become long term-traps. The lack of accepted benchmarks makes it difficult to reach strong conclusions in regard to the 'efficiency' of labour markets, however, this study should help to highlight the effect of different labour market institutions on mobility and on the soundness of the 'port-of-entry' hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • B Contini & l Pacelli & C Villosio, 1999. "Short Employment Spells in Italy, Germany and the UK: Testing the Port of Entry Hypothesis," CEP Discussion Papers dp0426, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0426

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Meghir, Costas & Whitehouse, Edward, 1997. "Labour market transitions and retirement of men in the UK," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 79(2), pages 327-354, August.
    2. Susan N. Houseman & Katharine G. Abraham, 1995. "Earnings Inequality in Germany," Book chapters authored by Upjohn Institute researchers,in: Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz (ed.), Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 371-403 W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
    3. Arulampalam, Wiji & Booth, Alison L & Taylor, Mark P, 2000. "Unemployment Persistence," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(1), pages 24-50, January.
    4. Simon Burgess, 1999. "The Reallocation of Labour: An International Comparison Using Job Tenure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0416, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    5. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Fabio Berton & Francesco Devicienti & Lia Pacelli, 2007. "Temporary jobs: Port of entry, Trap, or just Unobserved Heterogeneity?," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 68, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    2. cipollone piero & Anita Guelfi, 2003. "tax credit policy and firms' behaviour: the case of subsidy to open-end labour contract in italy," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 471, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Tattara, Giuseppe & Valentini, Marco, 2005. "La mobilità dei lavoratori dell’industria nel Veneto: dinamica di lungo periodo e aspetti differenziali
      [Long-run labour mobility in Veneto manufacturing]
      ," MPRA Paper 11002, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    JEL classification:

    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • J01 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics: General


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