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Labor market rigidities and unemployment: the case of severance costs

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  • Michael K. Gavin

Abstract

It is frequently alleged that the persistent, high rates of unemployment in many European countries are due, at least in part, to various labor market rigidities. One of these rigidities is the high cost of firing workers, compared with the cost in the United States, or in Europe in the early 1960s. ; This paper assesses the empirical importance of severance costs on labor demand. A partial equilibrium model of the firm's employment decision in the presence of significant severance costs is formulated and solved. The theoretical section of the paper identifies the following determinants of the impact of severance costs on labor demand: (1) the size of the required severance payments, (2) the variability and persistence of shocks to labor demand, (3) the expected rate of growth of labor demand, (4) the rate at which workers voluntarily leave the firm to retire or take other jobs, (5) the wage elasticity of labor demand, and (6) the firm's discount rate. ; The analytical framework is then used to evaluate the impact of severance costs on the expected cost of hiring a worker, and hence on labor demand. These costs are evaluated for a plausible base case, and the sensitivity of the conclusions to alternative assumptions is investigated.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael K. Gavin, 1986. "Labor market rigidities and unemployment: the case of severance costs," International Finance Discussion Papers 284, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgif:284
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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/ifdp/1986/284/default.htm
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Adriana Kugler, 2000. "The Incidence of Job Security Regulations on Labor Market Flexibility and Compliance in Colombia: Evidence from the 1990 Reform," Research Department Publications 3094, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    2. Booth, Alison L. & Zoega, Gylfi, 2003. "On the welfare implications of firing costs," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(4), pages 759-775, November.
    3. Agenor,Pierre-Richard, 2003. "The mini-integrated macroeconomic model for poverty analysis : a framework for analyzing the unemployment and poverty effects of fiscal and labor market reforms," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3067, The World Bank.
    4. Njikam, Ousmanou, 2016. "Trade liberalization, labor market regulations and labor demand in Cameroon," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 43(C), pages 525-541.
    5. Soltwedel, RĂ¼diger & Bothe, Adrian & Hoffmeyer, Martin & Laaser, Claus-Friedrich & Lammers, Konrad & Merz, Monika & Reuter, Dieter, 1990. "Regulierungen auf dem Arbeitsmarkt der Bundesrepublik," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 418, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. Bar-Ilan, Avner & Levy, Anat, 1993. "Job search by employed workers : the effects of restrictions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1170, The World Bank.
    7. Freyens, Benoit Pierre & Gong, Xiaodong, 2015. "Dismissal Laws in Australia: Reforms and Enforcement by Labour Courts," IZA Discussion Papers 9295, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Fu, Hu & Kleinberg, Robert & Lavi, Ron & Smorodinsky, Rann, 2017. "Job security, stability and production efficiency," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 12(1), January.
    9. Adriana Kugler, 1999. "The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(3), pages 389-410, August.
    10. Risager, Ole & Sorensen, Jan Rose, 1997. "On the effects of firing costs when investment is endogenous: An extension of a model by Bertola," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(7), pages 1343-1353, July.

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    Keywords

    Unemployment ; Labor market;

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