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The Political Economy of Flexicurity

  • Tito Boeri
  • J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz
  • Vincenzo Galasso

We document the presence of a trade-off between unemployment benefits (UB) and employment protection legislation (EPL) in the provision of insurance against labor market risk. Different countries' locations along this trade-off represent stable, hard to modify, politico-economic equilibria. We develop a model in which individuals determine the strictness of EPL and the size of a redistributive UB system in two distinct political environments. Agents are heterogeneous along two dimensions: employment status -insiders and outsiders - and skills - low and high. Unlike previous work on EPL, we model employment protection as an institution redistributing also among insiders, notably in favour of the low-skill workers. A key implication of the model is that flexicurity configurations with low EPL and high UB should emerge in presence of dispersed wage structures and progressive UB systems. Micro data on wage dispersion display correlations consistent with our results. The analysis of the experience of EPL reformers yields results which are in line with the relation between EPL and progressiveness of the UB system implied by our model.

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Paper provided by FEDEA in its series Working Papers with number 2006-15.

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Date of creation: Jul 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fda:fdaddt:2006-15
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  1. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2002. "The European Employment Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 3543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Tito Boeri & Pietro Garibaldi, 2007. "Two Tier Reforms of Employment Protection: A Honeymoon Effect?," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 37, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
  3. Bertola, Giuseppe & Rogerson, Richard, 1997. "Institutions and labor reallocation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1147-1171, June.
  4. repec:fda:fdaddt:2003-03 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Boeri, Tito, 1998. "Enforcement of Employment Security Regulations, On-The-Job Search and Unemployment Duration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1850, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L, 2001. "Deunionization, Technical Change and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Productivity Gains from Unemployment Insurance," Working papers 99-29, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Gilles Saint Paul, 1998. "Assesing the political viability of labour market reform: The case of employment protection," Economics Working Papers 346, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 1999. "Positive Arithmetic of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 2202, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. John E. Roemer, . "The Democratic Political Economy Of Progressive Income Taxation," Department of Economics 97-11, California Davis - Department of Economics.
  11. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  12. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  13. André Sapir & Marco Buti, 1998. "Economic policy in EMU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8078, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  14. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  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. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
  17. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2000. "Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 2589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. Gilles Saint-Paul, 2002. "The Political Economy of Employment Protection," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(3), pages 672-701, June.
  19. 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.
  20. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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