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The Third Worker: Assessing the Trade-off between Employees and Contractors

Listed author(s):
  • Martins, Pedro S.

    ()

    (Queen Mary, University of London)

Firms make labour demand decisions not only between permanent and non-permanent employees but also increasingly more between employees and contractors. Indeed, this third work format can be attractive, also when employment protection law is restrictive. This paper examines empirically this scarcely researched trade-off drawing on a recent reform in Portugal that cut the severance pay of new employee hires while leaving unchanged the regulations affecting contractors. Our analysis draws on difference-in-differences methods and original high-frequency firm-level panel data on both employees and contractors. We find that the reduction in severance pay had a large relative positive effect on the wage bills and worker counts of employees compared to contractors. This result, robust to a number of checks, highlights the role of labour regulations as an additional driver of more flexible labour formats.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 10222.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2016
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp10222
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  1. Fella Giulio, 2012. "Matching, Wage Rigidities and Efficient Severance Pay," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-35, December.
  2. Pedro S. Martins, 2016. "Can overtime premium flexibility promote employment? Firm- and worker-level evidence from a labour law reform," Working Papers 72, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  3. Arindrajit Dube & Ethan Kaplan, 2010. "Does Outsourcing Reduce Wages in the Low-Wage Service Occupations? Evidence from Janitors and Guards," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 287-306, January.
  4. Katharine G. Abraham & John Haltiwanger & Kristin Sandusky & James R. Spletzer, 2013. "Exploring Differences in Employment between Household and Establishment Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 129-172.
  5. Addison, John T. & Portugal, Pedro & Varejão, José, 2014. "Labor demand research: Toward a better match between better theory and better data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 4-11.
  6. Hijzen, Alexander & Martins, Pedro S., 2016. "No Extension Without Representation? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Collective Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 10204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Martins, Pedro S., 2016. "Should the Maximum Duration of Fixed-Term Contracts Increase in Recessions? Evidence from a Law Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 10206, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Holzmann, Robert & Pouget, Yann & Vodopivec, Milan & Weber, Michael, 2011. "Severance pay programs around the world : history, rationale, status, and reforms," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 62726, The World Bank.
  9. Pedro S. Martins, 2009. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 257-279, April.
  10. Martins, Pedro S., 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," IZA Discussion Papers 8540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 2016. "The Rise and Nature of Alternative Work Arrangements in the United States, 1995-2015," Working Papers 603, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  12. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-938, October.
  13. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions," Working Papers 51, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  14. Pedro S. Martins, 2016. "Do wages increase when severance pay drops? Not in recessions," Working Papers 77, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
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