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Two-Tier Labor Markets in the Great Recession: France vs. Spain

  • Bentolila, Samuel
  • Cahuc, Pierre
  • Dolado, Juan J.
  • Le Barbanchon, Thomas

This paper analyzes the strikingly different response of unemployment to the Great Recession in France and Spain. Their labor market institutions are similar and their unemployment rates just before the crisis were both around 8%. Yet, in France, unemployment rate has increased by 2 percentage points, whereas in Spain it has shot up to 19% by the end of 2009. We assess what part of this differential is due to the larger gap between the dismissal costs of permanent and temporary contracts and the less restrictive rules regarding the use of the latter contracts in Spain. Using a calibrated search and matching model, we estimate that about 45% of the surge in Spanish unemployment could have been avoided had Spain adopted French employment protection legislation before the crisis started.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8152.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8152
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  1. Hector Sala & Jose I. Silva & Manuel E. Toledo, 2007. "Flexibility at the margin and labor market volatility in OECD countries," Economics Working Papers we075832, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  2. Wasmer, Etienne, 1999. "Competition for Jobs in a Growing Economy and the Emergence of Dualism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 349-71, July.
  3. Christopher A. Pissarides & Barbara Petrongolo, 2001. "Looking into the Black Box: A Survey of the Matching Function," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 390-431, June.
  4. Bentolila, Samuel & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1991. "The Macroeconomic Impact of Flexible Labour Contracts: An Application to Spain," CEPR Discussion Papers 596, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo, 2006. "The Shortcomings of a Partial Release of Employment Protection Laws; The Case of the 2005 French Reform," IMF Working Papers 06/301, International Monetary Fund.
  6. L'Haridon, Olivier & Malherbe, Franck, 2008. "Employment protection reform in search economies," Les Cahiers de Recherche 910, HEC Paris.
  7. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  8. Samuel Bentolila & Juan J. Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno, 2007. "Does Immigration Affect The Phillips Curve? Some Evidence For Spain," Working Papers wp2007_0718, CEMFI.
  9. F. Bouvet, 2012. "The Beveridge curve in Europe: new evidence using national and regional data," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(27), pages 3585-3604, September.
  10. Samuel Bentolila & Andrea Ichino, 2008. "Unemployment and consumption near and far away from the Mediterranean," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 21(2), pages 255-280, April.
  11. P Garibaldi, 1995. "Job Flow Dynamics and Firing Restrictions," CEP Discussion Papers dp0256, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293323, March.
  13. Kramarz, Francis & Philippon, Thomas, 2000. "The Impact of Differential Payroll Tax Subsidies on Minimum Wage Employment," IZA Discussion Papers 219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Andrea Ichino & Regina T. Riphahn, 2001. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort. A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," CESifo Working Paper Series 596, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Cahuc, Pierre & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2002. "Temporary jobs, employment protection and labor market performance," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(1), pages 63-91, February.
  16. Rupert, Peter & Wasmer, Etienne, 2012. "Housing and the labor market: Time to move and aggregate unemployment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 24-36.
  17. Sascha Becker & Samuel Bentolila & Ana Fernandes & Andrea Ichino, 2010. "Youth emancipation and perceived job insecurity of parents and children," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 1047-1071, June.
  18. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1994. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 61(3), pages 397-415, July.
  19. Samuel Bentolila, . "Internal migration in Spain," Working Papers 2001-07, FEDEA.
  20. Olivier Blanchard & Augustin Landier, 2001. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labor Market Reform: Fixed Duration Contracts in France," NBER Working Papers 8219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Yolanda Rebollo Sanz & J. Ignacio García-Pérez, 2009. "Do wage subsidies affect the subsequent employment stability of permanent workers?: the case of Spain," Working Papers 09.18, Universidad Pablo de Olavide, Department of Economics.
  22. Samuel Bentolila & Juan Jose Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno, 2008. "Two-tier Employment Protection Reforms: The Spanish Experience," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(4), pages 49-56, December.
  23. Samuel Bentolila & Juan F. Jimeno, . "Spanish Unemployment: The End of the Wild Ride?," Working Papers 2003-10, FEDEA.
  24. Martin Werding (ed.), 2006. "Structural Unemployment in Western Europe: Reasons and Remedies," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262232464, June.
  25. James Costain & Juan F. Jimeno & Carlos Thomas, 2010. "Employment fluctuations in a dual labor market," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 1013, Banco de Espa�a.
  26. 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.
  27. Miguel-Angel Lopez-Garcia, 2004. "Housing, prices and tax policy in Spain," Spanish Economic Review, Springer, vol. 6(1), pages 29-52, April.
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