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Employment Protection, Technology Choice, and Worker Allocation

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  • Bartelsman, Eric J
  • de Wind, Joris
  • Gautier, Pieter A

Abstract

Using a country-industry panel dataset (EUKLEMS) we uncover a robust empirical regularity, namely that high-risk innovative sectors are relatively smaller in countries with strict employment protection legislation (EPL). To understand the mechanism, we develop a two-sector matching model where firms endogenously choose between a safe technology with known productivity and a risky technology with productivity subject to sizeable shocks. Strict EPL makes the risky technology relatively less attractive because it is more costly to shed workers upon receiving a low productivity draw. We calibrate the model using a variety of aggregate, industry and micro-level data sources. We then simulate the model to reflect both the observed differences across countries in EPL and the observed increase since the mid-1990s in the variance of firm performance associated with the adoption of information and communication technology. The simulations produce a differential response to the arrival of risky technology between low- and high-EPL countries that coincides with the findings in the data. The described mechanism can explain a considerable portion of the slowdown in productivity in the EU relative to the US since 1995.

Suggested Citation

  • Bartelsman, Eric J & de Wind, Joris & Gautier, Pieter A, 2010. "Employment Protection, Technology Choice, and Worker Allocation," CEPR Discussion Papers 7806, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7806
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    Cited by:

    1. Marco Pagano & Luca Picariello, 2017. "Talent Discovery, Layoff Risk and Unemployment Insurance," EIEF Working Papers Series 1710, Einaudi Institute for Economics and Finance (EIEF), revised Aug 2017.
    2. Alessandra Bonfiglioli & Gino Gancia, 2013. "Heterogeneity, selection and labor market disparities," Economics Working Papers 1402, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Feb 2018.
    3. Hendrik Dalen & Kène Henkens, 2013. "Dilemmas of Downsizing During the Great Recession: Crisis Strategies of European Employers," De Economist, Springer, vol. 161(3), pages 307-329, September.
    4. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    5. Bassanini, Andrea & Garnero, Andrea, 2013. "Dismissal protection and worker flows in OECD countries: Evidence from cross-country/cross-industry data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 25-41.
    6. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-334, February.
    7. Hyytinen, Ari & Maliranta, Mika, 2011. "Firm Lifecycles and External Restructuring," Discussion Papers 1253, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    8. Cette Gilbert & Lopez Jimmy & Mairesse Jacques, 2017. "Employment protection legislation impacts on capital and skill composition," Working Papers 2017-57, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.
    9. N. N., 2015. "WIFO-Monatsberichte, issue 11/2015," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 88(11), November.
    10. Jo Ritzen & Klaus Zimmermann, 2014. "A vibrant European labor market with full employment," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-24, December.
    11. Carlos Miguel Silva & Ana Paula Ribeiro, 2011. "The Impacts of Structural Changes in the Labor Market: a Comparative Statics Analysis Using Heterogeneous-agent Framework," CEF.UP Working Papers 1104, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    12. Matteo Bugamelli & Francesca Lotti & Monica Amici & Emanuela Ciapanna & Fabrizio Colonna & Francesco D’Amuri & Silvia Giacomelli & Andrea Linarello & Francesco Manaresi & Giuliana Palumbo & Filippo Sc, 2018. "Productivity growth in Italy: a tale of a slow-motion change," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 422, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    13. Eric J. Bartelsman, 2010. "Searching for the sources of productivity from macro to micro and back," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1891-1917, December.
    14. Olivér KOVÁCS, 2013. "Black swans or creeping normalcy? – An attempt to a holistic crisis analysis," Eastern Journal of European Studies, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 4, pages 127-143, June.
    15. Martin Falk & Werner Hölzl & Harald Oberhofer, 2015. "The Importance of Firm-Level Data for Empirical Research and Economic Policy Consulting," WIFO Monatsberichte (monthly reports), WIFO, vol. 88(11), pages 845-857, November.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment protection; Information and Commications Technology; search; sectoral allocation;

    JEL classification:

    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • O38 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Government Policy

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