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Employment Protection, Firm Selection, and Growth

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  • Markus Poschke

Abstract

This paper analyzes the effect of firing costs on aggregate productivity growth. For this purpose, a model of endogenous growth through selection and imitation is developed. It is consistent with recent evidence on firm dynamics and the contribution of firm entry and exit to aggregate productivity growth. In this model, growth arises endogenously via market selection among heterogeneous incumbent firms. It is sustained as entrants imitate the best incumbents. In this framework, besides inducing misallocation of labor and reducing entry, firing costs also discourage exit of low-productivity firms. This makes selection less severe and reduces growth. However, exempting exiting firms from firing costs speeds up the exit of inefficient firms and thereby growth, with little change in job turnover. These effects are stronger in sectors where firms face larger idiosyncratic shocks, as in services, fitting evidence that here, EU-US growth rate differences are largest. Introducing firing costs of one year’s wages in a benchmark economy calibrated to the US business (services) sector then leads to 0.1 (0.3) points lower growth. A brief empirical analysis of the impact of firing costs on the size of exiting firms supports the model’s conclusions.

Suggested Citation

  • Markus Poschke, 2006. "Employment Protection, Firm Selection, and Growth," Economics Working Papers ECO2006/35, European University Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:eui:euiwps:eco2006/35
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    Keywords

    endogenous growth theory; firm dynamics; labor market regulation; firing costs; entry and exit; firm selection;

    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
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L16 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Industrial Organization and Macroeconomics; Macroeconomic Industrial Structure
    • O40 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - General

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