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Employment Protection Legislation and Wages

  • Leonardi, Marco


    (University of Milan)

  • Pica, Giovanni


    (University of Milan)

In a perfect labor market severance payments can have no real effects as they can be undone by a properly designed labor contract (Lazear 1990). We give empirical content to this proposition by estimating the effects of EPL on entry wages and on the tenure-wage profile in a quasi-experimental setting. We consider a reform that introduced unjust-dismissal costs in Italy for firms below 15 employees, leaving firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. Estimates which account for the endogeneity of the treatment status due to workers and firms sorting around the 15 employees threshold show no effect of the reform on entry wages and a decrease of the returns to tenure by around 20% in the first year and by 8% over the first two years. We interpret these findings as broadly consistent with Lazear’s (1990) prediction that firms make workers prepay the severance cost.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2680.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2680
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  1. Kugler, Adriana & Pica, Giovanni, 2005. "Effects of Employment Protection on Worker and Job Flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 1743, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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  4. Devicenti francesco & Maida Agata & Sestito Paolo, 2005. "Downward Wage Rigidity in Italy : Micro-based Measures and Implications," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200503, University of Turin.
  5. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2001. "Insurance within the Firm," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 414, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  6. van der Wiel, Karen, 2010. "Better protected, better paid: Evidence on how employment protection affects wages," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 16-26, January.
  7. Kugler, Adriana & Pica, Giovanni, 2003. "Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 948, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. 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.
  9. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  10. Andrea Borgarello & Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 23, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  11. Tito Boeri & Juan F. Jimeno, . "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," Working Papers 2003-12, FEDEA.
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  13. Christopher Erickson & Andrea Ichino, 1995. "Wage Differentials in Italy: Market Forces, Institutions, and Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 265-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  16. William Kerr & Adriana Kugler & David Autor, 2007. "Do Employment Protections Reduce Productivity? Evidence from U.S. States," Working Papers 07-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue III & Stewart J. Schwab, 2003. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," NBER Working Papers 9425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Cervini, María & Ramos, Xavier & Silva, José I., 2011. "Wage effects of non-wage labour costs," MPRA Paper 34033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  19. 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.
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  21. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
  22. Maia Guell, 2000. "Fixed-term contracts and unemployment: an efficiency wage analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20181, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  23. Martins, Pedro S., 2007. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," IZA Discussion Papers 3112, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  24. Cingano, Federico & Leonardi, Marco & Messina, Julián & Pica, Giovanni, 2009. "The Effect of Employment Protection Legislation and Financial Market Imperfections on Investment: Evidence from a Firm-Level Panel of EU Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 4158, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Battistin, Erich & Rettore, Enrico, 2008. "Ineligibles and eligible non-participants as a double comparison group in regression-discontinuity designs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 715-730, February.
  26. bertola, G. & Rogerson, R., 1996. "Institutions and Labor Reallocation," Papers 272, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  27. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  28. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
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  33. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
  34. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
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