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The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement

  • Tito Boeri
  • Juan F. Jimeno

Employment protection legislations (EPL) are not enforced uniformly across the board. There are a number of exemptions to the coverage of these provisions: firms below a given threshold scale and workers with temporary contracts are not subject to the most restrictive provisions. This within country variation in enforcement allows to make inferences on the impact of EPL which go beyond the usual cross-country approach. In this paper we develop a simple model which explains why these exemptions are in place to start with. Then we empirically assess the effects of EPL on dismissal probabilities, based on a double-difference approach. Our results are in line with the predictions of the theoretical model. Workers in firms exempted from EPL are more likely to be laid-off. We do not observe this effect in the case of temporary workers. There is no effect of the exemption threshold on the growth of firms.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 252.

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Date of creation: 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:252
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  1. R. Jackman & R. Layard & S. Nickell, 1996. "Combatting unemployment: is flexibility enough?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 47446, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  2. Thomas K. Bauer & Stefan Bender & Holger Bonin, 2007. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 804-821, November.
  3. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labor Market," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 28, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
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  7. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
  8. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2001. "Firm Size, Earnings, and Displacement Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 474-86, July.
  9. Bertola, Giuseppe & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Institutions and Labour Reallocation," CEPR Discussion Papers 1519, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli & Andrea Borgarello, 2004. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 63(1), pages 33-68, April.
  11. Stephen Nickell & D Nicolitsas, 1994. "Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0219, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  12. Kugler, Adriana & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "Hiring and Firing Costs, Adverse Selection and Long-term Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan & Bonin, Holger, 2004. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," RWI Discussion Papers 14, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
  14. Kugler, Adriana & Jimeno, Juan F. & Hernanz, Virginia, 2002. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  16. 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.
  17. Fabiano Schivardi & Roberto Torrini, 2003. "Firm Size Distribution and EPL in Italy," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-613, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  18. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:3:p:699-726 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Boeri, Tito, 1999. "Enforcement of employment security regulations, on-the-job search and unemployment duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 65-89, January.
  20. Gregg, Paul & Manning, Alan, 1997. "Skill-biassed change, unemployment and wage inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1173-1200, June.
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  22. Dolado, Juan J. & Garcia-Serrano, Carlos & Jimeno, Juan F, 2001. "Drawing Lessons From the Boom of Temporary Jobs in Spain," CEPR Discussion Papers 2884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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  25. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-59, October.
  26. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
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