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The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement

  • Tito Boeri
  • Juan F. Jimeno

Employment protection legislations (EPL) are not enforced uniformly across the board. There are a number of exemptions to the coverage of these provisions: firms below a given threshold scale and workers with temporary contracts are not subject to the most restrictive provisions. This within country variation in enforcement allows to make inferences on the impact of EPL which go beyond the usual cross-country approach. In this paper we develop a simple model which explains why these exemptions are in place to start with. Then we empirically assess the effects of EPL on dismissal probabilities, based on a double-difference approach. Our results are in line with the predictions of the theoretical model. Workers in firms exempted from EPL are more likely to be laid-o®. We do not observe this effect in the case of temporary workers.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2003-12.

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