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The Political Economy of Employment Protection

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  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

Abstract

This paper develops a model of job creation and job destruction in a growing economy with embodied technical progress, that we use to analyze the political support for employment protection legislations such as the ones that are observed in most European countries. We analyze the possibility of Condorcet cycles due to the fact that workers about to become unemployed prefer both an increase and a reduction in firing costs over the status quo. Despite this problem, we show the existence of local, and sometimes global majority winners. In voting in favour of employment protection, incumbent employees trade off lower living standards (because employment protection maintains workers in less productive activities) against longer job duration. We show that the gains from, and consequently the political support for employment protection (as defined by maximumjob tenure) are larger, the lower the rate of creative destruction and the larger the worker's bargaining power. Numerical simulations suggest a hump-shaped response of firing costs to these variables, as well as a negative impact of exogenous turnover on employment protection.

Suggested Citation

  • Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1999. "The Political Economy of Employment Protection," CEPR Discussion Papers 2109, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2109
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David T. Coe & Dennis J. Snower, 1997. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 44(1), pages 1-35, March.
    2. Burda, Michael C, 1992. " A Note on Firing Costs and Severance Benefits in Equilibrium Unemployment," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 94(3), pages 479-489.
    3. Daniel Cohen & Arnaud Lefrance & Gilles Saint-Paul, 1997. "French unemployment: a transatlantic perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 266-291.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Creative Destruction; Firing Costs; Obsolescence; Political Economy; Vintage Capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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