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Assessing the Political Viability of Labour Market Reform: The Case of Employment Protection

  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

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 maximum job 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.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2136.

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Date of creation: Apr 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2136
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  1. Daniel Cohen & Arnaud Lefranc & Gilles Saint-Paul, 1997. "French unemployment: a transatlantic perspective," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 12(25), pages 265-292, October.
  2. Caballero, Ricardo J & Hammour, Mohamad L, 1994. "The Cleansing Effect of Recessions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1350-68, December.
  3. 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.
  4. Olivier Blanchard & Pedro Portugal, 1998. "What Hides Behind An Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and Us Unemployment," Working Papers w199803, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  5. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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