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Reforming Labor and Product Markets: Some Lessons From Two Decades of Experiments in Europe

  • Tito Boeri

This paper evaluates European structural reforms over the last 20 years, in light of economic theory predictions about interactions between labor and product market reforms. Reforms in labor markets occur at higher frequencies than in product market, which are, however, more coherent. These asymmetries can be explained by the nature of political obstacles to reforms in the two domains. Labor market reforms can exploit institutional trade-offs; notably, reforms can trade labor market flexibility with state-provided unemployment insurance and can be applied only to new entrants in the market without affecting the set of regulations applied to existing workers. These two-tier strategies are infeasible in product markets, since incumbent firms can easily drive away new entrants. In product markets, however, it is possible to shift responsibilities to supranational authorities, resisting pressures of national lobbies.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 05/97.

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Length: 34
Date of creation: 01 May 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:05/97
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  1. Dennis J. Snower & David T. Coe, 1996. "Policy Complementarities: The Case for Fundamental Labor Market Reform," IMF Working Papers 96/93, International Monetary Fund.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Francesco Giavazzi, 2003. "Macroeconomic Effects Of Regulation And Deregulation In Goods And Labor Markets," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(3), pages 879-907, August.
  3. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," CEPR Discussion Papers 3926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Robert Shimer, 1998. "Efficient Unemployment Insurance," NBER Working Papers 6686, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Boeri, Tito & Conde-Ruiz, José Ignacio & Galasso, Vincenzo, 2003. "Protecting Against Labour Market Risk: Employment Protection or Unemployment Benefits?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3990, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Juan J Dolado & Carlos Garcia--Serrano & Juan F. Jimeno, 2002. "Drawing Lessons From The Boom Of Temporary Jobs In Spain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(721), pages F270-F295, June.
  7. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  8. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198293323, March.
  9. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "On the Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(2), pages 279-98, April.
  10. Tito Boeri & J. Ignacio Conde-Ruiz & Vincenzo Galasso, . "Protecting Against Labour Market Risk: Employment Protection or Unemployment Benefits?," Working Papers 2003-17, FEDEA.
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