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Fixed-term and permanent employment contracts: theory and evidence

  • Shutao Cao
  • Enchuan Shao
  • Pedro Silos

This paper constructs a theory of the coexistence of fixed-term and permanent employment contracts in an environment with ex ante identical workers and employers. Workers under fixed-term contracts can be dismissed at no cost while permanent employees enjoy labor protection. In a labor market characterized by search and matching frictions, firms find it optimal to discriminate by offering some workers a fixed-term contract while offering other workers a permanent contract. Match-specific quality between a worker and a firm determines the type of contract offered. We analytically characterize the firms' hiring and firing rules. Using matched employer-employee data from Canada, we estimate the wage equations from the model. The effects of firing costs on wage inequality vary dramatically depending on whether search externalities are taken into account.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta Working Paper with number 2010-13.

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Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2010-13
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  1. Renato Faccini, 2008. "Reassessing Labor Market Reforms: Temporary Contracts as a Screening Device," Economics Working Papers ECO2008/27, European University Institute.
  2. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 2000. "Labor-Market Policies in an Equilibrium Search Model," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1999, Volume 14, pages 265-316 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Wasmer, Etienne, 1999. "Competition for Jobs in a Growing Economy and the Emergence of Dualism," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(457), pages 349-71, July.
  4. Alonso-Borrego, César & Galdón Sánchez, José E. & Fernández Villaverde, Jesús, 2004. "Evaluating labor market reforms : a general equilibrium approach," UC3M Working papers. Economics we042307, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Economía.
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  6. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
  7. Cahuc, Pierre & Postel-Vinay, Fabien, 2001. "Temporary Jobs, Employment Protection and Labor Market Performance," IZA Discussion Papers 260, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) hal-00176090, HAL.
  9. Christian Bontemps & Jean-Marc Robin & Gérard J. Van den Berg, 1999. "An Empirical Equilibrium Job Search Model With Search on the Job and Heterogeneous Workers and Firms," Post-Print hal-00357757, HAL.
  10. Eckstein, Zvi & Mortensen, Dale T., 2006. "Labor search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 50(4), pages 807-810, May.
  11. Eckstein, Zvi & van den Berg, Gerard J., 2007. "Empirical labor search: A survey," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 136(2), pages 531-564, February.
  12. James Mabli & Christopher Flinn, 2007. "On-the-Job Search, Minimum Wages, and Labor Market Outcomes in an Equilibrium Bargaining Framework," 2007 Meeting Papers 791, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  13. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F214-F244, June.
  14. Shutao Cao & Danny Leung, 2010. "Stability versus Flexibility: The Role of Temporary Employment in Labour Adjustment," Staff Working Papers 10-27, Bank of Canada.
  15. Danielle Venn, 2009. "Legislation, Collective Bargaining and Enforcement: Updating the OECD Employment Protection Indicators," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 89, OECD Publishing.
  16. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1990. "Estimating a Market Equilibrium Search Model from Panel Data on Individuals," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 783-808, July.
  17. Chernozhukov, Victor & Hong, Han, 2003. "An MCMC approach to classical estimation," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 293-346, August.
  18. Eric F. Smith, 2007. "Limited Duration Employment," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 10(3), pages 444-471, July.
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