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Employment protection and unemployment benefits: on technology adoption and job creation in a matching model

We analyse the effects of different labour market policies — employment protection, unemployment benefits and payroll taxes — on job creation and technology choices in a model where firms are randomly matched with workers of different productivity and wages are determined by ex-post bargaining. In this setting, as long as firing costs remain below a certain level, unemployment benefits are detrimental both to job creation and technology adoption while the effects of employment protection are mixed, as higher firing costs stifle job creation but stimulate technology investments. This suggests that a ‘flexicurity’ policy,with low employment protection and high unemployment benefits, might have the adverse effect of slowing down technological progress and job growth. Indeed, our analysis of the optimal policy solution suggests that flexicurity is often not optimal, and may be optimal only in conjunction with payroll subsidies.

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Paper provided by University of Bergen, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers in Economics with number 18/12.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 07 Dec 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:bergec:2012_018
Contact details of provider: Postal: Institutt for økonomi, Universitetet i Bergen, Postboks 7802, 5020 Bergen, Norway
Phone: (+47)55589200
Fax: (+47)55589210
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  1. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Frode Meland & Odd Rune Straume, 2010. "North-South technology transfer in unionised multinationals," NIPE Working Papers 35/2010, NIPE - Universidade do Minho.
  2. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, 2006. "The Political Economy of Flexicurity," Working Papers 2006-15, FEDEA.
  3. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  4. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Rune Straume, Odd, 2006. "Globalisation and union opposition to technological change," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 1-23, January.
  5. Giuseppe Bertola, 2004. "A Pure Theory of Job Security and Labour Income Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 43-61, 01.
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  8. Dixit Avinash & Rob Rafael, 1994. "Switching Costs and Sectoral Adjustments in General Equilibrium with Uninsured Risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 48-69, February.
  9. Hansen, Gary D & Imrohoroglu, Ayse, 1992. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(1), pages 118-42, February.
  10. Giuseppe Bertola & Richard Rogerson, 1996. "Institutions and Labor Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 5828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Cockx, Bart & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2009. "Flexicurity in Belgium: A Proposal Based on Economic Principles," IZA Policy Papers 9, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Anesi, Vincent & De Donder, Philippe, 2009. "A Positive Theory of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection," CEPR Discussion Papers 7333, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. 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.
  15. Belot, M.V.K. & Boone, J. & van Ours, J.C., 2007. "Welfare improving employment protection," Other publications TiSEM eee2f823-1384-4a2f-a4eb-7, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  16. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 1999. "Labor market policies in an equilibrium search model," Working Paper Series WP-99-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  17. Karabay, Bilgehan & McLaren, John, 2011. "Pareto-improving firing costs?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(8), pages 1083-1093.
  18. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  19. Manning, Alan, 1987. "An Integration of Trade Union Models in a Sequential Bargaining Framework," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 97(385), pages 121-39, March.
  20. Hugo A. Hopenhayn & Juan Pablo Nicolini, 2009. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance and Employment History," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(3), pages 1049-1070.
  21. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  22. Marc Blatter & Samuel Muehlemann & Samuel Schenker, 2008. "The Costs of Hiring Skilled Workers," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0015, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Nov 2009.
  23. Hopenhayn, H. & Nicolini, P.J., 1996. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," RCER Working Papers 421, University of Rochester - Center for Economic Research (RCER).
  24. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
  25. Giulio Piccirilli, 2010. "Job protection, industrial relations, and employment," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 62(4), pages 803-824, October.
  26. Camille Landais & Pascal Michaillat & Emmanuel Saez, 2010. "A Macroeconomic Theory of Optimal Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 16526, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Ulph, Alistair & Ulph, David, 1998. "Labour markets, bargaining and innovation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-5), pages 931-939, May.
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