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Identifying the Effects of Firing Restrictions Through Size-Contingent Differences in Regulation

  • Schivardi, Fabiano
  • Torrini, Roberto

We study the effects of the more stringent employment protection legislation (EPL) that applies in Italy to firms with over 15 employees. We consider firms' propensity to grow when close to that threshold and changes in employment policies when they pass it. Using a comprehensive matched employer-employees dataset, we find that the probability of firms' growth is reduced by around 2 percentage points near the threshold. Using the stochastic transition matrix for firm size, we compute the long-run effects of EPL on the size distribution, finding that they are quantitatively modest. We also find that, contrary to the implications of more stringent firing restrictions, workers in firms just above the threshold have on average less stable employment relations than those just below it. We document that this is because firms above the threshold make greater use of flexible employment contracts, arguably to circumvent the stricter regulation on open-end contracts.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5303.

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Date of creation: Oct 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5303
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  1. Kugler, Adriana D. & Pica, Giovanni, 2004. "Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 4216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:4:p:703-25 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Andrea Borgarello & Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 23, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  4. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2002. "Insurance within the firm," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C3-1, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  5. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F., 2005. "The effects of employment protection: Learning from variable enforcement," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(8), pages 2057-2077, November.
  6. Kugler, Adriana & Jimeno, Juan F. & Hernanz, Virginia, 2002. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. 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.
  8. Bentolila, Samuel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1992. "The macroeconomic impact of flexible labor contracts, with an application to Spain," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(5), pages 1013-1047, June.
  9. Gianni Principe, 2003. "Soglie Dimensionali e Regolazione del Rapporto di Lavoro in Italia," ISAE Working Papers 36, ISTAT - Italian National Institute of Statistics - (Rome, ITALY).
  10. Patrizio Pagano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Firm Size Distribution and Growth," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 105(2), pages 255-274, 06.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working papers 98-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Adriana D. Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2006. "The Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labour Market," Chapters, in: Labour Market Adjustments in Europe, chapter 4 Edward Elgar.
  14. 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.
  15. Roberto Torrini & Fabiano Schivardi, 2004. "Threshold effects and firm size: The case of firing costs," 2004 Meeting Papers 445, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  16. Schivardi, F., 1998. "Reallocation and Learning Over the Business Cycle," Papers 345, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  17. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  18. 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.
  19. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
  20. Alison L Booth & Juan J. Dolado & Jeff Frank, 2002. "Symposium On Temporary Work Introduction," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F181-F188, June.
  21. repec:oup:qjecon:v:104:y:1989:i:4:p:671-98 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. repec:oup:qjecon:v:102:y:1987:i:4:p:703-25 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  24. Paul Geroski & Paul Gregg & John van Reenen, 1995. "Market Imperfections and Employment," OECD Jobs Study Working Papers 5, OECD Publishing.
  25. Verick, Sher, 2004. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Legislation in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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