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Screening on the Job: Should Temporary Jobs Be Subsidized?


  • Julien Albertini

    () (EPEE et TEPP (FR CNRS no 3126), University of Evry Val d’Essonne)

  • Xavier Fairise

    () (EPEE et TEPP (FR CNRS no 3126), University of Evry Val d’Essonne)

  • Florent Fremigacci

    () (CREST, EPEE et TEPP (FR CNRS no 3126), University of Evry Val d’Essonne)


The difficulty to allocate the right workers to the right jobs is an important source of market frictions. With the expansion of atypical jobs in the mid-1980’s, the idea that screening and flexibility could be complementary motivations arose. The purpose of this paper is twofold : (i) First, we investigate the screening effect of fixed-term contracts on employment (ii) Then, we analyze different subsidized temporary job schemes and their impact on the social welfare. We extend the framework of Pries and Rogerson (2005) by allowing firms to hire workers on both temporary and permanent jobs. Screening takes the form of a learning process where both the employer and the employee infer the match quality during a temporary job. We show that when temporary jobs are used as a screening device, they increase the employment size. Hiring and wage subsidies reduce both the unemployment rate and unemployment duration but have a different impact on the transition rate between unemployment, temporary jobs and permanent jobs. The hiring subsidy can be welfare enhancing while a permanent and identical wage subsidy for all temporary employed workers is always welfare detrimental. However, allowing the wage subsidy to compensate low income temporary jobs have a positive impact on labour market performance and may increase the aggregate welfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Julien Albertini & Xavier Fairise & Florent Fremigacci, 2009. "Screening on the Job: Should Temporary Jobs Be Subsidized?," Documents de recherche 09-14, Centre d'Études des Politiques Économiques (EPEE), Université d'Evry Val d'Essonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:eve:wpaper:09-14

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Gerfin, Michael & Lechner, Michael & Steiger, Heidi, 2005. "Does subsidised temporary employment get the unemployed back to work? Aneconometric analysis of two different schemes," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(6), pages 807-835, December.
    2. José Varejão & Pedro Portugal, 2003. "Why do Firms Use Fixed-Term Contracts?," Working Papers w200308, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
    3. Boockmann, Bernhard & Hagen, Tobias, 2008. "Fixed-term contracts as sorting mechanisms: Evidence from job durations in West Germany," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(5), pages 984-1005, October.
    4. Orszag, J. Michael & Snower, Dennis J., 2003. "Designing employment subsidies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(5), pages 557-572, October.
    5. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
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    More about this item


    Fixed-duration contract; Subsidised temporary jobs; Active labor market policies; Screening; Unemployment; Matching model;

    JEL classification:

    • H29 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J38 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Public Policy
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search


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