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The Effect of Job Security Regulations on Labor Market Flexibility: Evidence from the Colombian Labor Market Reform

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  • Adriana Kugler

Abstract

Job security provisions are widely believed to reduce dismissals and hiring. In addition, in developing countries job security is believed to reduce compliance with labor regulations and to increase informal activity. Reductions in dismissal costs are, thus, often advocated as a way to increase labor market flexibility and to increase compliance with labor regulations. This paper analyzes the impact of a substantial reduction in dismissal costs introduced by the Colombian Labor Market Reform of 1990. A theoretical model illustrates the effect of dismissal costs when there is a noncompliant sector. The model shows the direct effect of a reduction in dismissal costs on increased turnover as well as the second order effects on wages and on the composition of the compliant and noncompliant sectors. Using microdata from the Colombian National Household Surveys, I exploit the temporal variability in dismissal costs together with the variability in coverage between formal and informal workers (who are not covered and were, thus, not directly affected by the reform). The differences-in-differences results indicate increased separations and accessions for formal workers relative to informal workers after the reform. Moreover, the increase in worker turnover was greatest among younger workers, more educated workers, and workers employed in larger firms who are most likely to have been affected by the reform. The estimates, together with the steady-state conditions of the model, suggest the reform contributed to 10% of the reduction in unemployment during the period of study.

Suggested Citation

  • Adriana Kugler, 2004. "The Effect of Job Security Regulations on Labor Market Flexibility: Evidence from the Colombian Labor Market Reform," NBER Working Papers 10215, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10215
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    Cited by:

    1. Robalino, David & Vodopivec, Milan & Bodor, Andras, 2009. "Savings for unemployment in good or bad times : options for developing countries," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 50320, The World Bank.
    2. Victor Aguirregabiria & Cesar Alonso-Borrego, 2014. "Labor Contracts And Flexibility: Evidence From A Labor Market Reform In Spain," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 52(2), pages 930-957, April.
    3. Kaplan, David S., 2009. "Job creation and labor reform in Latin America," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 91-105, March.
    4. Armida Alisjahbana & Muhamad Purnagunawan, 2004. "The Impact of Job Security Regulations on Employment and Hours of Work: Empirical Evidence for Indonesia," Working Papers in Economics and Development Studies (WoPEDS) 200405, Department of Economics, Padjadjaran University, revised Nov 2004.
    5. Viollaz, Mariana, 2016. "Enforcement of Labor Market Regulations: Heterogeneous Compliance and Adjustment across Gender," MPRA Paper 72000, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Behaghel, Luc & Crépon, Bruno & Sédillot, Béatrice, 2008. "The perverse effects of partial employment protection reform: The case of French older workers," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(3-4), pages 696-721, April.
    7. Arup Mitra & Chandan Sharma, 2014. "Technology Intensity and Global Competitiveness: Issues in Labour Cost and Employment," Working Papers id:6217, eSocialSciences.
    8. Jackline Wahba & Ragui Assaad, 2015. "Flexible Labor Regulations and Informality in Egypt," Working Papers 915, Economic Research Forum, revised May 2015.
    9. Taborda, Rodrigo & Guataqui, Juan Carlos, 2011. "Manufacturing Employment and Wage Differentials After Structural Adjustment Reforms in Colombia: An Efficiency Wages Approach," REVISTA LECTURAS DE ECONOMÍA, UNIVERSIDAD DE ANTIOQUIA - CIE, June.
    10. Adriana Kugler & Maurice Kugler, 2009. "Labor Market Effects of Payroll Taxes in Developing Countries: Evidence from Colombia," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 57(2), pages 335-358, January.
    11. Kugler, Adriana D., 2005. "Wage-shifting effects of severance payments savings accounts in Colombia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 487-500, February.
    12. Shanthi Nataraj & Francisco Perez-Arce & Krishna B. Kumar & Sinduja V. Srinivasan, 2014. "The Impact Of Labor Market Regulation On Employment In Low-Income Countries: A Meta-Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(3), pages 551-572, July.
    13. Pierre-Richard Agénor, 2005. "The Analytics of Segmented Labor Markets," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0529, Economics, The University of Manchester.
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    19. Paola Roldán Vásquez & Carlos Ospino Hernández, 2009. "¿Quiénes terminan en la informalidad?: Impacto de las características y el tiempo de búsqueda," REVISTA DE ECONOMÍA DEL CARIBE 007124, UNIVERSIDAD DEL NORTE.
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    21. Almeida, Rita K. & Poole, Jennifer P., 2017. "Trade and labor reallocation with heterogeneous enforcement of labor regulations," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 126(C), pages 154-166.
    22. Djankov, Simeon & Ramalho, Rita, 2009. "Employment laws in developing countries," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 3-13, March.
    23. Kuddo, Arvo, 2009. "Labor laws in Eastern European and Central Asian countries : minimum norms and practices," Social Protection and Labor Policy and Technical Notes 51698, The World Bank.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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