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

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  • Gal, Peter N.

    () (Tinbergen Institute)

  • Hijzen, Alexander

    () (OECD)

  • Wolf, Zoltan

    () (U.S. Census Bureau)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Gal, Peter N. & Hijzen, Alexander & Wolf, Zoltan, 2013. "The Role of Institutions and Firm Heterogeneity for Labour Market Adjustment: Cross-Country Firm-Level Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 7404, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp7404
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Bassanini & Luca Nunziata & Danielle Venn, 2009. "Job protection legislation and productivity growth in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 349-402, April.
    2. 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.
    3. 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, January.
    4. Jan Babecký & Philip Du Caju & Theodora Kosma & Martina Lawless & Julián Messina & Tairi Rõõm, 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.
    5. Mark Gertler & Simon Gilchrist, 1994. "Monetary Policy, Business Cycles, and the Behavior of Small Manufacturing Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 309-340.
    6. 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 2509-2539, October.
    7. 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).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. Heinz, Frigyes Ferdinand & Rusinova, Desislava, 2011. "How flexible are real wages in EU countries? A panel investigation," Working Paper Series 1360, European Central Bank.
    11. 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.
    12. Caballero, Ricardo J & Engel, Eduardo M R A & Haltiwanger, John, 1997. "Aggregate Employment Dynamics: Building from Microeconomic Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 115-137, March.
    13. J. P. Gould, 1968. "Adjustment Costs in the Theory of Investment of the Firm," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 35(1), pages 47-55.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ronald Bachmann & Peggy Bechara & Anica Kramer & Sylvi Rzepka, 2015. "Labour market dynamics and worker heterogeneity during the Great Recession – Evidence from Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, December.
    2. repec:eee:labeco:v:46:y:2017:i:c:p:64-76 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Joachim Wagner & Yama Temouri, 2013. "Do outliers and unobserved heterogeneity explain the exporter productivity premium? Evidence from France, Germany and the United Kingdom," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 33(3), pages 1931-1940.
    4. Hijzen, Alexander & Kambayashi, Ryo & Teruyama, Hiroshi & Genda, Yuji, 2015. "The Japanese labour market during the global financial crisis and the role of non-standard work: A micro perspective," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 260-281.
    5. Paula Garda & Volker Ziemann, 2014. "Economic Policies and Microeconomic Stability: A Literature Review and Some Empirics," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 1115, OECD Publishing.
    6. 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).
    7. Criscuolo, Chiara & Gal, Peter N. & Menon, Carlo, 2014. "The dynamics of employment growth: new evidence from 18 countries," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 60286, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    8. Fornaro, Paolo & Luomaranta, Henri, 2017. "Small and Medium Firms, Aggregate Productivity and the Role of Dependencies," ETLA Working Papers 47, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    9. Ronald Bachmann & Peggy Bechara & Anica Kramer & Sylvi Rzepka, 2014. "Labour Market Dynamics and Worker Heterogeneity During the Great Recession – Evidence from Europe," Ruhr Economic Papers 0499, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    10. Cristina Fernández & Roberta García & Paloma Lopez-Garcia & Benedicta Marzinotto & Roberta Serafini & Juuso Vanhala & Ladislav Wintr, 2017. "Firm growth in Europe: An overview based on the COMPNET labour module," BCL working papers 107, Central Bank of Luxembourg.
    11. repec:zbw:rwirep:0499 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Vivian Carstensen, 2013. "The German Labor Market Miracle Revisited: Risk Elimination in Working Time Accounts," Eurasian Journal of Social Sciences, Eurasian Publications, vol. 1(1), pages 19-38.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    global financial crisis; employment protection; labour market adjustment; firm-level data;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand

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