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Technology and Labor Regulations

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  • Joeph Zeira
  • Alberto Alesina

Abstract

Many low skilled jobs have been substituted away for machines in Europe, or eliminated, much more so than in the US, while technological progress at the "top", i.e. at the high-tech sector, is faster in the US than in Europe. This paper suggests that the main difference between Europe and the US in this respect is their different labor market policies. European countries reduce wage flexibility and inequality through a host of labor market regulations, like binding minimum wage laws, permanent unemployment subsidies, firing costs, etc. Such policies create incentives to develop and adopt labor saving capital intensive technologies at the low end of the skill distribution. At the same time technical change in the US is more skill biased than in Europe, since American skilled wages are higher. In the last few years some partial labor market reforms in Europe may have started to slow down or even reverse this trend.
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Suggested Citation

  • Joeph Zeira & Alberto Alesina, 2007. "Technology and Labor Regulations," Working Papers 0729, University of Crete, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:crt:wpaper:0729
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    6. Eric J. Bartelsman & Pieter A. Gautier & Joris De Wind, 2016. "Employment Protection, Technology Choice, And Worker Allocation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 57(3), pages 787-826, August.
    7. Binyamin Berdugo & Sharon Hadad, 2008. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Innovation and Growth when Workers' Ability is Unknown? – Employment Protection as a Burden on a Firm's Screening Process," DEGIT Conference Papers c013_004, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.
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    10. Zsófia L. Bárány, 2016. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality: The Effects of Education and Technology," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(1), pages 237-274.
    11. Berdugo, Binyamin & Hadad, Sharon, 2008. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Innovation and Growth when Workers' Ability is Unknown? – Employment Protection as a Burden on a Firm's Screening Process," MPRA Paper 11410, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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    13. Zsofia Barany, 2016. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality: The Effects of Education and Technology," SciencePo Working papers hal-03594158, HAL.
    14. Zsofia Barany, 2016. "The Minimum Wage and Inequality: The Effects of Education and Technology," Post-Print hal-03594158, HAL.
    15. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2016. "Employment Protection Legislation, Capital Investment and Access to Credit: Evidence from Italy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(595), pages 1798-1822, September.
    16. Barbosa, Natália & Faria, Ana Paula, 2011. "Innovation across Europe: How important are institutional differences?," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(9), pages 1157-1169.
    17. Amin, Mohammad, 2009. "Are labor regulations driving computer usage in India's retail stores?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 102(1), pages 45-48, January.
    18. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "The effects of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries [Technology and labour regulations]," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25(61), pages 117-163.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Skilled jobs; wage differential; technical change;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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