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Why Do Firms Use Fixed-Term Contracts?

  • Portugal, Pedro

    ()

    (Banco de Portugal)

  • Varejão, José

    ()

    (University of Porto)

Temporary forms of employment account for a variable but never trivial share of total employment in both the U.S. and in Europe. In this article we look at how one specific form of temporary employment − employment with fixed-term contracts − fits into employers' hiring policies. We find that human capital variables (schooling, skills and employer-provided training) as measured at the levels of the worker and the workplace are important determinants of the employers’ decisions to hire with fixed-term contracts and to promote temporary workers to permanent positions. Those employers that hire more with fixed-term contracts are also those that are more likely to offer a permanent position to their newly-hired temporary employees. Our results indicate that fixed-term contracts are used as mechanisms for screening workers for permanent positions.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 4380.

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Length: 32 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4380
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  1. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  2. Daniel S. Hamermesh & John R. Wolfe, 1986. "Compensating Wage Differentials and the Duration of Wage Loss," NBER Working Papers 1887, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
  4. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1996. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," NBER Working Papers 5551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Susan N. Houseman, 2001. "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 149-170, October.
  6. Güell, Maia & Petrongolo, Barbara, 2003. "How Binding Are Legal Limits? Transitions from Temporary to Permanent Work in Spain," IZA Discussion Papers 782, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Santos Silva, J.M.C. & Murteira, J.M.R., 2009. "Estimation of default probabilities using incomplete contracts data," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 457-465, June.
  8. Jennifer Hunt, 1994. "Firing Costs, Employment Fluctuations and Average Employment: An Examination of Germany," NBER Working Papers 4825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. David H. Autor, 2000. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," NBER Working Papers 7637, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Simon Burgess & Julia Lane & David Stevens, 1996. "Job Flows, Worker Flows and Churning," Labor and Demography 9604004, EconWPA.
  11. Booth, Alison L. & Francesconi, Marco & Frank, Jeff, 2000. "Temporary Jobs: Stepping Stones or Dead Ends?," IZA Discussion Papers 205, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. 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.
  13. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Eric Maurin, 2000. "The European Paradox : Do Flexible Contracts Create Rigid Labor Markets ?," Working Papers 2000-07, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  15. Garcia Serrano, Carlos, 1999. "Worker Turnover and Job Reallocation: The Role of Fixed-Term Contracts," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 237a, January.
  16. repec:fth:inseep:2000-07 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Olivier Blanchard & Augustin Landier, 2001. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labor Market Reform: Fixed Duration Contracts in France," NBER Working Papers 8219, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2000. "Work transitions into and out of involuntary temporary employment in a segmented market: Evidence from Spain," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 309-325, January.
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