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Does Employment Protection Help Immigrants? Evidence from European Labor Markets

  • Sa, Filipa


    (King's College London)

High levels of employment protection reduce hiring and firing and have a theoretically ambiguous effect on the employment level. Immigrants, being new to the labor market, may be less aware of employment protection regulations and less likely to claim their rights, which may create a gap between the costs for employers of hiring a native relative to hiring an immigrant. This paper tests that hypothesis drawing on evidence for the EU and on two natural experiments for Spain and Italy. The results suggest that strict employment protection legislation (EPL) gives immigrants a comparative advantage relative to natives. Stricter EPL is found to reduce employment and reduce hiring and firing rates for natives. By contrast, stricter EPL has no effect on most immigrants and may even increase employment rates for those who have been in the country for a longer time.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3414.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Labour Economics, 2011, 18 (5), 624-642
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3414
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  1. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2005. "Effects of Employment Protection on Worker and Job Flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," NBER Working Papers 11658, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Joshua D. Angrist & Adriana D. Kugler, 2001. "Protective or counter-productive? Labor market institutions and the effect of immigration on EU natives," Economics Working Papers 587, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
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  5. 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.
  6. Pierre Cahuc & André Zylberberg, 2004. "Labor Economics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026203316x, June.
  7. Donald A. Walker (ed.), 2000. "Equilibrium," Books, Edward Elgar, volume 0, number 1585.
  8. Hernanz, Virginia & Jimeno, Juan F & Kugler, Adriana D., 2003. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labour Market Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3724, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  10. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  11. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2005. "The Effects of Employment Protection on the Italian Labour Market," CSEF Working Papers 135, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  12. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-38, May.
  13. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
  14. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
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