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The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation

Author

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  • Ichino, Andrea

    () (European University Institute)

  • Riphahn, Regina T.

    () (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

Abstract

Employment protection systems are known to generate significant distortions in firms’ hiring and firing decisions. We know much less about the impact of these regulations on worker effort. The goal of this paper is to fill in this gap and in particular to assess whether the provision of employment protection induces less effort among workers in the form of absenteeism. Our analysis is based on weekly observations for the 858 white collar workers hired by a large Italian bank between January 1993 and February 1995. These workers begin to be protected against firing only after the twelfth week of tenure and we observe them for one year. We show that the number of days of absence per week more than doubles once employment protection is granted, thus confirming what is suggested by our theoretical model and what is typically assumed in the literature. We also discuss how this evidence can be used to estimate what the absenteeism rate would be in Italy if employment protection were eliminated.

Suggested Citation

  • Ichino, Andrea & Riphahn, Regina T., 2001. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: A Comparison of Absenteeism During and After Probation," IZA Discussion Papers 385, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp385
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
    2. Andrea Ichino & Giovanni Maggi, 2000. "Work Environment and Individual Background: Explaining Regional Shirking Differentials in a Large Italian Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(3), pages 1057-1090.
    3. Riphahn Regina T. & Thalmaier Anja, 2001. "Behavioral Effects of Probation Periods: An Analysis of Worker Absenteeism / Anreizeffekte der Probezeit: Eine Untersuchung von Fehlzeiten bei Arbeitnehmern," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 221(2), pages 179-201, April.
    4. Garibaldi, Pietro, 1998. "Job flow dynamics and firing restrictions," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(2), pages 245-275, February.
    5. Adriana Kugler, 1999. "The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(3), pages 389-410, August.
    6. Barmby, Tim & Stephan, Gesine, 2000. "Worker Absenteeism: Why Firm Size May Matter," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 68(5), pages 568-577, September.
    7. 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.
    8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    absenteeism; employment protection; Probation; worker effort;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts

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