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Cross-skill Redistribution and the Tradeoff between Unemployment Benefits and Employment Protection

  • Tito Boeri
  • Ignacio Conde-Ruiz
  • Vincenzo Galasso

We document the presence of a trade-off between unemployment benefits (UB) and employment protection legislation (EPL) in the provision of insurance against labor market risk. Different countries’ locations along this trade-off represent stable, hard to modify, politico-economic equilibria. We develop a model in which voters are required to cast a ballot over the strictness of EPL, the generosity of UBs and the amount of redistribution involved by the financing of unemployment insurance. Agents are heterogeneous along two dimensions: employment status — insiders and outsiders — and skills — low and high. Unlike previous work on EPL, we model employment protection as an institution redistributing among insiders, notably in favour of the low-skill workers. A key implication of the model is that configurations with strict EPL and low UB should emerge in presence of compressed wage structures. Micro data on wage premia on educational attainments and on the strictness of EPL are in line with our results. We also find empirical support to the substantive assumptions of the model on the effects of EPL.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 271.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:271
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  1. Gilles Saint-Paul, 1999. "Assessing the political viability of labor market reform : the case of employment protection," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue May, pages 73-87.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1999. "Productivity Gains from Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 7352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  4. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
  5. Mortensen, Dale T & Pissarides, Christopher A, 1999. "Unemployment Responses to 'Skill-Biased' Technology Shocks: The Role of Labour Market Policy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(455), pages 242-65, April.
  6. Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2000. "Early Retirement," CEPR Discussion Papers 2589, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Conde-Ruiz, J.I. & Galasso, V., 2000. "Positive Arithmetic of the Welfare State," Economics Working Papers eco2000/23, European University Institute.
  8. Gilles Saint Paul, 1999. "The political economy of employment protection," Economics Working Papers 355, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  9. Boeri, Tito, 1998. "Enforcement of Employment Security Regulations, On-The-Job Search and Unemployment Duration," CEPR Discussion Papers 1850, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Bertola, Giuseppe & Rogerson, Richard, 1997. "Institutions and labor reallocation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1147-1171, June.
  11. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  12. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 2002. "Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262661314, June.
  13. 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.
  14. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J, 2002. "The European Employment Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 3543, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  16. Tito Boeri & Axel Börsch-Supan & Guido Tabellini, 2001. "Would you like to shrink the welfare state? A survey of European citizens," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 7-50, 04.
  17. Acemoglu, Daron & Aghion, Philippe & Violante, Giovanni L, 2001. "Deunionization, Technical Change and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2764, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  18. André Sapir & Marco Buti, 1998. "Economic policy in EMU," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8078, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
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