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The Role of Institutions and Firm Heterogeneity for Labour Market Adjustment: Cross-Country Firm-Level Evidence

  • Gal, Peter N.

    ()

    (Tinbergen Institute)

  • Hijzen, Alexander

    ()

    (OECD)

  • Wolf, Zoltan

    ()

    (U.S. Census Bureau)

This paper investigates the role of policies and institutions for aggregate labour market dynamics during the recent financial crisis using firm-level data. First, it provides comparable estimates on firm-level labor adjustment by country, industry and firm size. Second, using variance decomposition methods, it shows that differences in firm-level labor adjustment accounts for about 40% of the cross-country variation in aggregate employment growth at the outset of the crisis. We interpret this as evidence that differences in institutional settings accounted for a substantial part of the variation in aggregate employment growth. Third, we find that stronger protection for regular workers is associated with lower (higher) employment (earnings-per-worker) response in the wake of output shocks. This suggests employment protection shifts the burden of adjustment from the extensive to the intensive margin. However, in explaining the diverse cross-country patterns in employment adjustment during the crisis, the impact of employment protection alone seems to be small.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 7404.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: May 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7404
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  1. Heinz, Frigyes Ferdinand & Rusinova, Desislava, 2011. "How flexible are real wages in EU countries? A panel investigation," Working Paper Series 1360, European Central Bank.
  2. Andrea Bassanini & Romain Duval, 2009. "Unemployment, institutions, and reform complementarities: re-assessing the aggregate evidence for OECD countries," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 25(1), pages 40-59, Spring.
  3. Jan Babeck� & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julián Messina & Tairi R��m, 2010. "Downward Nominal and Real Wage Rigidity: Survey Evidence from European Firms," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 112(4), pages 884-910, December.
  4. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "The effects of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 25, pages 117-163, 01.
  5. Michèle Belot & Jan C. van Ours, 2004. "Does the recent success of some OECD countries in lowering their unemployment rates lie in the clever design of their labor market reforms?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(4), pages 621-642, October.
  6. Ricardo J. Caballero & Eduardo M.R.A. Engel & John Haltiwanger, 1995. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building From Microeconomic Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5042, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Bassanini, Andrea & Nunziata, Luca & Venn, Danielle, 2008. "Job Protection Legislation and Productivity Growth in OECD Countries," IZA Discussion Papers 3555, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Sean Dougherty & Verónica C. Frisancho Robles & Kala Krishna, 2011. "Employment Protection Legislation and Plant-Level Productivity in India," NBER Working Papers 17693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gertler, M. & Gilchrist, S., 1993. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," Working Papers 93-02, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  10. Andrea Bassanini & Andrea Garnero & Pascal Marianna & Sébastien Martin, 2010. "Institutional Determinants of Worker Flows: A Cross-Country/Cross-Industry Approach," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 107, OECD Publishing.
  11. Hijzen, Alexander & Mondauto, Leopoldo & Scarpetta, Stefano, 2013. "The Perverse Effects of Job-Security Provisions on Job Security in Italy: Results from a Regression Discontinuity Design," IZA Discussion Papers 7594, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2012. "The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2509-39, October.
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