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Threshold Effects and Firm Size: the Case of Firing Costs

  • Fabiano Schivardi
  • Roberto Torrini

We study the role of employment protection legislation (EPL) in determining firm size distribution. In manycountries the provisions of EPL are more stringent for firms above certain size thresholds. We construct asimple model that shows that the smooth relation between size and growth probability is interrupted inproximity of the thresholds at which EPL applies differentially. We use a comprehensive longitudinal dataset ofall Italian firms, a country with an important threshold at 15 employees, to estimate the effects of EPL in termsof discouraging small firms from growing. We find that the probability of firms ' growth in the proximity of thethreshold is reduced by around 2 percentage points. Using the stochastic transition matrix for firm size, wecompute the long-run effects of EPL on size distribution. We find that average firm size would increase by lessthan 1% in steady state when removing the threshold; a quantitatively modest effect.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0633.

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Date of creation: May 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0633
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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  1. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  2. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1996. "Employment Protection, International Specialization, and innovation," IMF Working Papers 96/16, International Monetary Fund.
  3. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 1997. "Explaining National Differences in the Size and Industry Distribution of Employment," NBER Working Papers 6246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua D. Angrist, 2001. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 915-957, October.
  5. Kumar, Krishna B & Rajan, Raghuram G & Zingales, Luigi, 1999. "What Determines Firm Size?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2211, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Ichino, Andrea & Polo, Michele & Rettore, Enrico, 2003. "Are judges biased by labor market conditions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 913-944, October.
  7. Patrizio Pagano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Firm Size Distribution and Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(2), pages 255-274, 06.
  8. repec:fth:iniesr:482 is not listed on IDEAS
  9. Garibaldi, Pietro & Pacelli, Lia & Borgarello, Andrea, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 787, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  11. Tito Boeri & Juan F. Jimeno, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," Working Papers 252, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  12. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
  13. Verick, Sher, 2004. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Legislation in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Comparative Analysis of Firm Demographics and Survival: Micro-Level Evidence for the OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 348, OECD Publishing.
  15. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  17. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue III & Stewart J. Schwab, 2003. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," NBER Working Papers 9425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Fabiano Schivardi, 2000. "Rigidita nel mercato del lavoro, disoccupazione e crescita," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 59(1), pages 117-143, April.
  20. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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