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Employment protection legislation and wages

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  • Leonardi, Marco
  • Pica, Giovanni

Abstract

In a perfect labour market severance payments can have no real effects as they can be undone by a properly designed labour contract (Lazear 1990). We give empirical content to this proposition by estimating the effects of EPL on entry wages and on the tenure-wage profile in a quasi-experimental setting. We consider a reform that introduced unjust-dismissal costs in Italy for firms below 15 employees, leaving firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. Estimates which account for the endogeneity of the treatment status due to workers and firms sorting around the 15 employees threshold show no effect of the reform on entry wages and a decrease of the returns to tenure by around 20% in the first year and by 8% over the first two years. We interpret these findings as broadly consistent with Lazear's (1990) prediction that firms make workers prepay the severance cost. JEL Classification: E24, J63, J65

Suggested Citation

  • Leonardi, Marco & Pica, Giovanni, 2007. "Employment protection legislation and wages," Working Paper Series 778, European Central Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:2007778
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Bassanini & Luca Nunziata & Danielle Venn, 2009. "Job protection legislation and productivity growth in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 349-402, April.
    2. repec:oup:indcch:v:26:y:2017:i:1:p:169-185. is not listed on IDEAS
    3. David McKenzie, 2010. "Impact Assessments in Finance and Private Sector Development: What Have We Learned and What Should We Learn?," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 25(2), pages 209-233, August.
    4. Lorenzo Cappellari & Carlo Dell’Aringa & Marco Leonardi, 2012. "Temporary Employment, Job Flows and Productivity: A Tale of Two Reforms," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 122(562), pages 188-215, August.
    5. Román, Concepción & Congregado, Emilio & Millán, José María, 2013. "Start-up incentives: Entrepreneurship policy or active labour market programme?," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 151-175.
    6. Bertola, Giuseppe & Dabusinskas, Aurelijus & Hoeberichts, Marco & Izquierdo, Mario & Kwapil, Claudia & Montornès, Jeremi & Radowski, Daniel, 2012. "Price, wage and employment response to shocks: evidence from the WDN survey," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 783-791.
    7. Prifti, Ervin & Vuri, Daniela, 2013. "Employment protection and fertility: Evidence from the 1990 Italian reform," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(C), pages 77-88.
    8. Dewit, Gerda & Leahy, Dermot & Montagna, Catia, 2012. "Employment Protection, Flexibility and Firms’ Strategic Location Decisions under Uncertainty," SIRE Discussion Papers 2012-24, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    9. Petar Stankov, 2010. "Deregulation, Economic Growth and Growth Acceleration," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp424, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    10. Christopher A. Hartwell, 2010. "Employment Protection Legislation and Labor Markets in Transition: Assessing the Effects of the Labor Code in Armenia," European Journal of Comparative Economics, Cattaneo University (LIUC), vol. 7(2), pages 413-445, December.
    11. 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.
    12. 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," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 117-163, January.
    13. van der Wiel, Karen, 2010. "Better protected, better paid: Evidence on how employment protection affects wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 16-26, January.
    14. Andrea Bassanini, 2012. "Aggregate Earnings and Macroeconomic Shocks: the Role of Labour Market Policies and Institutions," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 3(3).
    15. Pedro S. Martins, 2009. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 257-279, April.
    16. Cervini-Plá, María & Ramos, Xavier & Ignacio Silva, José, 2014. "Wage effects of non-wage labour costs," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 113-137.
    17. Luca Nunziata, 2012. "In a Time of Crisis: Some Notes on the Italian Labour Market and Beyond," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 10(2), pages 40-48, 08.
    18. Grassi, Emanuele, 2009. "EPL and Job Contract Conversion Rate: The Italian CFL Case," MPRA Paper 12679, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    19. Helmut Hofer, 2007. "The Severance Pay Reform in Austria ("Abfertigung neu")," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 5(4), pages 41-48, 06.
    20. Anders Bornhäll & Sven-Olov Daunfeldt & Niklas Rudholm, 2017. "Employment protection legislation and firm growth: evidence from a natural experiment," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 26(1), pages 169-185.
    21. Per Skedinger, 2010. "Employment Protection Legislation," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13686, April.
    22. Leonor Modesto, 2008. "Unions, Firing Costs, and Unemployment," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(3), pages 509-546, September.
    23. Gerda Dewit & Dermot Leahy & Catia Montagna, 2013. "Employment Protection, Flexibility and Firms' Strategic Location Decisions under Uncertainty," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(319), pages 441-474, July.
    24. Rikke Ibsen & Elisabetta Trevisan & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2008. "Job Mobility and Skill Transferability. Some Evidences from Denmark and a Large Italian Region," Working Papers 2008_40, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".
    25. repec:ces:ifodic:v:5:y:2007:i:4:p:14567303 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    costs of unjust dismissals; regression discontinuity design; severance payments;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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