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Labor market institutions around the world

  • Richard B. Freeman

This paper documents the large cross-country differences in labor institutions that make them a candidate explanatory factor for the divergent economic performance of countries and reviews what economists have learned about the effects of these institutions on economic outcomes. It identifies three ways in which institutions affect economic performance: by altering incentives, by facilitating efficient bargaining, and by increasing information, communication, and trust. The evidence shows that labor institutions reduce the dispersion of earnings and income inequality, which alters incentives, but finds equivocal effects on other aggregate outcomes, such as employment and unemployment. Given weaknesses in the crosscountry data on which most studies focus, the paper argues for increased use of micro-data, simulations, and experiments to illuminate how labor institutions operate and affect outcomes.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19647/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19647.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19647
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Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  1. Leigh Tesfatsion & Mark Pingle, 2003. "Evolution of Worker-Employer Networks and Behaviors Under Alternative Non-Employment Benefits: An Agent-Based Computational Study," Computing in Economics and Finance 2003 7, Society for Computational Economics.
  2. John P. Martin, 1998. "What Works Among Active Labour Market Policies: Evidence From OECD Countries' Experiences," OECD Labour Market and Social Policy Occasional Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
  3. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 2004. "European Unemployment and Turbulence Revisited in a Matching Model," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 456-468, 04/05.
  4. Manning, Alan, 2011. "Imperfect Competition in the Labor Market," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier.
  5. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2006. "Employment Patterns in OECD Countries: Reassessing the Role of Policies and Institutions," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 35, OECD Publishing.
  6. Richard B. Freeman & Martin L. Weitzman, 1986. "Bonuses and Employment in Japan," NBER Working Papers 1878, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alberto Abadie & Alexis Diamond & Jens Hainmueller, 2007. "Synthetic Control Methods for Comparative Case Studies: Estimating the Effect of California's Tobacco Control Program," NBER Technical Working Papers 0335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters, in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lars Ljungqvist & Thomas J. Sargent, 1998. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 106(3), pages 514-550, June.
  10. Freeman, Richard B, 1984. "Longitudinal Analyses of the Effects of Trade Unions," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(1), pages 1-26, January.
  11. Dean Baker & Andrew Glyn & David Howell & John Schmitt, 2002. "Labor Market Institutions and Unemployment: A Critical Assessment of the Cross-Country Evidence," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2002-17, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
  12. Richard B. Freeman, 2007. "Searching for the EU Social Dialogue Model," AIEL Series in Labour Economics, in: Nicola Acocella & Riccardo Leoni (ed.), Social Pacts, Employment and Growth. A Reappraisal of Ezio Tarantelli’s Thought, edition 1, chapter 11, pages 221-238 AIEL - Associazione Italiana Economisti del Lavoro.
  13. Pereira, Pedro T. & Martins, Pedro S., 2001. "Returns to Education and Wage Equations," IZA Discussion Papers 298, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. repec:ucp:bknber:9780226723761 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  16. Matthew O. Jackson, 2001. "A crash course in implementation theory," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 655-708.
  17. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  18. Holmlund, B. & Zetterberg, J., 1989. "Insider Effects In Wage Determination: Evidence From Five Countries," Papers 1989a, Uppsala - Working Paper Series.
  19. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel, 2005. "Unemployment in the OECD Since the 1960s. What Do We Know?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(500), pages 1-27, 01.
  20. Freeman, Richard B, 1993. "Labor Markets and Institutions in Economic Development," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 403-08, May.
  21. Alvin E. Roth & Elliott Peranson, 1999. "The Redesign of the Matching Market for American Physicians: Some Engineering Aspects of Economic Design," NBER Working Papers 6963, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. Easterly, William & Kremer, Michael & Pritchett, Lant & Summers, Lawrence H., 1993. "Good policy or good luck?: Country growth performance and temporary shocks," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 459-483, December.
  23. Soskice, David, 1990. "Wage Determination: The Changing Role of Institutions in Advanced Industrialized Countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(4), pages 36-61, Winter.
  24. Amil Petrin & Jagadeesh Sivadasan, 2006. "Job Security Does Affect Economic Efficiency: Theory, A New Statistic, and Evidence from Chile," NBER Working Papers 12757, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Davin Chor & Richard B. Freeman, 2005. "The 2004 Global Labor Survey : Workplace Institutions and Practices Around the World," Labor Economics Working Papers 22066, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  26. Michael Bruno & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1985. "Economics of Worldwide Stagflation," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number brun85-1, August.
  27. Richard Freeman, 2005. "Labour market institutions without blinders: The debate over flexibility and labour market performance," International Economic Journal, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 129-145.
  28. Marco Manacorda, 2004. "Can the Scala Mobile Explain the Fall and Rise of Earnings Inequality in Italy? A Semiparametric Analysis, 19771993," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 585-614, July.
  29. David R. Howell & Dean Baker & Andrew Glyn & John Schmitt, 2006. "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions Really at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Perspective on the Statistical Evidence," CEPR Reports and Issue Briefs 2006-14, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR).
  30. Gode, Dhananjay K & Sunder, Shyam, 1993. "Allocative Efficiency of Markets with Zero-Intelligence Traders: Market as a Partial Substitute for Individual Rationality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 119-37, February.
  31. David Card & Thomas Lemieux & W. Craig Riddell, 2004. "Unions and Wage Inequality," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 25(4), pages 519-562, October.
  32. Blanchflower, David G., 2001. "Unemployment, Well-Being, and Wage Curves in Eastern and Central Europe," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 364-402, December.
  33. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, August.
  34. Michael Neugart, 2004. "Endogenous Matching Functions: An Agent-Based Computational Approach," Advances in Complex Systems (ACS), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 7(02), pages 187-201.
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