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Last in, first out? Estimating the effect of seniority rules in Sweden

  • von Below, David


    (Institute for International Economic Studies)

  • Thoursie, Peter


    (Department of Economics, Stockholm University)

In this paper we investigate whether a relaxation in seniority rules (the ‘last-in-first-out’ principle) had any effect on firms’ employment behaviour. Seniority rules exist in several countries and, like Sweden, most European countries have a more lenient employment protection for firms below a certain size. Despite the fact that small firms represent a large share of all firms and stand for a substantial share of total employment, there is limited knowledge of how such exemption rules affect firms’ employment behaviour — the consequences of seniority rules on firms’ employment behaviour have not been examined at all. Using data including the population of firms matched with the population of workers for the period 1999–2002, we do not find any general effects on worker flows or on hires and separations. The only exception is a tendency of an increase in the share of separations for older workers and workers with longer seniority. The result points to the importance of considering in detail how legislation is formulated and how it works in practice.

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Paper provided by IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy in its series Working Paper Series with number 2008:27.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 12 Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published as von Below, David and Peter Thoursie, 'Last in, first out? Estimating the effect of seniority rules in Sweden' in Labour Economics, 2010, pages 987-997.
Handle: RePEc:hhs:ifauwp:2008_027
Contact details of provider: Postal: IFAU, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: (+46) 18 - 471 70 70
Fax: (+46) 18 - 471 70 71
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