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Labor Market Institutions Around the World

  • Richard Freeman

This paper documents the large cross-country differences in labor institutions that make them a candidate explanatory factor for the divergent economic performance of countries and reviews what economists have learned about the effects of these institutions on economic outcomes. It identifies three ways in which institutions affect economic performance: by altering incentives, by facilitating efficient bargaining, and by increasing information, communication, and trust. The evidence shows that labor institutions reduce the dispersion of earnings and income inequality, which alters incentives, but finds equivocal effects on other aggregate outcomes, such as employment and unemployment. Given weaknesses in the crosscountry data on which most studies focus, the paper argues for increased use of micro-data, simulations, and experiments to illuminate how labor institutions operate and affect outcomes.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp0844.

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Date of creation: Jan 2008
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Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0844
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  1. Matthew O. Jackson, 2001. "A crash course in implementation theory," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 18(4), pages 655-708.
  2. Andrew Glyn, 2003. "Labor Market Institutions and Unemployment: A Critical Assessment of the Cross-Country Evidence," Economics Series Working Papers 168, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  3. Elliott Peranson & Alvin E. Roth, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 748-780, September.
  4. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
  5. John P. Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence From OECD Countries' Experiences," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
  6. Richard Freeman, 2005. "Labour market institutions without blinders: The debate over flexibility and labour market performance," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 129-145.
  7. Alan Manning, 2010. "Imperfect Competition in the Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0981, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. William Easterly & Michael Kremer & Lant Pritchett & Lawrence H. Summers, 1993. "Good Policy or Good Luck? Country Growth Performance and Temporary Shocks," NBER Working Papers 4474, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Amil Petrin & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2006. "Job Security Does Affect Economic Efficiency: Theory, A New Statistic, and Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 12757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, June.
  11. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 486, OECD Publishing.
  12. Richard B. Freeman & Martin L. Weitzman, 1986. "Bonuses and Employment in Japan," NBER Working Papers 1878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Richard B. Freeman, 2006. "Searching for the EU Social Dialogue Model," NBER Working Papers 12306, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Michael Neugart, 2004. "Endogenous Matching Functions: An Agent-Based Computational Approach," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(02), pages 187-201.
  15. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
  16. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, June.
  17. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Richard B. Freeman, 1983. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," NBER Working Papers 1207, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Holmlund, Bertil & Zetterberg, Johnny, 1991. "Insider effects in wage determination : Evidence from five countries," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(5), pages 1009-1034, July.
  20. Blanchflower, David G., 2001. "Unemployment, Well-Being, and Wage Curves in Eastern and Central Europe," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 364-402, December.
  21. Pedro Telhado Pereira & Pedro Silva Martins, 2004. "Returns to education and wage equations," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 525-531.
  22. Leigh Tesfatsion & Mark Pingle, 2003. "Evolution of Worker-Employer Networks and Behaviors Under Alternative Non-Employment Benefits: An Agent-Based Computational Study," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 7, Society for Computational Economics.
  23. Davin Chor & Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "The 2004 Global Labor Survey : Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World," Labor Economics Working Papers 22066, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  24. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  25. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1996. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 36, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  26. David R. Howell & Dean Baker & Andrew Glyn & John Schmitt, 2006. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions Really at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Perspective on the Statistical Evidence," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2006-14, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  27. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2007. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California's Tobacco Control Program," NBER Technical Working Papers 0335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Soskice, David, 1990. "Wage Determination: The Changing Role of Institutions in Advanced Industrialized Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 36-61, Winter.
  29. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  30. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  31. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226723761 is not listed on IDEAS
  32. Teulings,Coen & Hartog,Joop, 2008. "Corporatism or Competition?," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521049399, September.
  33. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "European Unemployment and Turbulence Revisited in a Matching Model," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 456-468, 04/05.
  34. Freeman, Richard B, 1993. "Labor Markets and Institutions in Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 403-08, May.
  35. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
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