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Threshold effects and firm size: the case of firing costs

  • Fabiano Schivardi
  • Roberto Torrini

We study the role of employment protection legislation (EPL) in determining firm size distribution. In many countries the provisions of EPL are more stringent for firms above certain size thresholds. We construct a simple model that shows that the smooth relation between size and growth probability is interrupted in proximity of the thresholds at which EPL applies differentially. We use a comprehensive longitudinal dataset of all Italian firms, a country with an important threshold at 15 employees, to estimate the effects of EPL in terms of discouraging small firms from growing. We find that the probability of firms ' growth in the proximity of the threshold is reduced by around 2 percentage points. Using the stochastic transition matrix for firm size, we compute the long-run effects of EPL on size distribution. We find that average firm size would increase by less than 1% in steady state when removing the threshold; a quantitatively modest effect.

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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 19956.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: May 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19956
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  1. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
  2. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Comparative Analysis of Firm Demographics and Survival: Micro-Level Evidence for the OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 348, OECD Publishing.
  3. Patrizio Pagano & Fabiano Schivardi, 2001. "Firm Size Distribution and Growth," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 394, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua Angrist, 1998. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Working papers 98-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1996. "Employment Protection, International Specialization, and innovation," IMF Working Papers 96/16, International Monetary Fund.
  7. repec:fth:iniesr:482 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1982. "Selection and the Evolution of Industry," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(3), pages 649-70, May.
  10. Tito Boeri, 2004. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," 2004 Meeting Papers 445a, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  12. Krishna B. Kumar & Raghuram G. Rajan & Luigi Zingales, . "What Determines Firm Size?," CRSP working papers 496, Center for Research in Security Prices, Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago.
  13. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  14. Andrew C. Caplin & Daniel F. Spulber, 1987. "Menu Costs and the Neutrality of Money," NBER Working Papers 2311, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Ichino, Andrea & Polo, Michele & Rettore, Enrico, 2003. "Are judges biased by labor market conditions?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(5), pages 913-944, October.
  16. Fabiano Schivardi, 2000. "Rigidita nel mercato del lavoro, disoccupazione e crescita," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 59(1), pages 117-143, April.
  17. Andrea Borgarello & Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 23, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  18. Verick, Sher, 2004. "Threshold Effects of Dismissal Protection Legislation in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 991, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Steven J. Davis & Magnus Henrekson, 1997. "Explaining National Differences in the Size and Industry Distribution of Employment," NBER Working Papers 6246, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
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