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Fixed-Term Employment Contracts in an Equilibrium Search Model

  • Fernando Alvarez
  • Marcelo Veracierto

This paper analyzes the effects of fixed-term contracts using a version of the Lucas and Prescott island model with undirected search. A fixed-term contract of length J is modeled as a tax on separations of workers with tenure higher than J . While in principle these policies require a very large state space to analyze the firms and households' problems, we show that equilibrium allocations solve a simple dynamic programming problem. Analyzing this problem we show that equilibrium employment dynamics are characterized by two dimensional inaction sets. Finally, to understand the effect of these contracts, we compare them with two extreme cases: for J = 1 the fixed-term contracts are equivalent to the case of firing taxes, and for large J they are equivalent to the laissez-faire case. In a calibrated version of the model, we find that temporary contracts with J equivalent to three years length close about half of the gap between those two extremes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12791.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Publication status: published as Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2012. "Fixed-term employment contracts in an equilibrium search model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1725-1753.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12791
Note: EFG LS
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  1. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  2. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  3. Prescott, Edward C & Mehra, Rajnish, 1980. "Recursive Competitive Equilibrium: The Case of Homogeneous Households," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(6), pages 1365-79, September.
  4. Cabrales, Antonio & Hopenhayn, Hugo A., 1997. "Labor-market flexibility and aggregate employment volatility," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 189-228, June.
  5. Cesar Alonso-Borrego & Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde & Jose E. Galdon-Sanchez, 2004. "Evaluating Labor Market Reforms: A General Equilibrium Approach," Working Papers 10, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  6. Alonso-Borrego, César & Aguirregabiria, Víctor, 1999. "Labor contracts and flexibility : evidence from a labor markt reform in Spain," DES - Working Papers. Statistics and Econometrics. WS 6302, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. Departamento de Estadística.
  7. Carmen Pagés-Serra, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, ECONOMIA JOURNAL OF THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION, vol. 0(Fall 2000), pages 109-154, August.
  8. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Severance payments in an economy with frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 477-498, June.
  9. Juan José Dolado & Carlos García-Serrano & Juan F. Jimeno, . "Drawing Lessons from the Boom of Temporary Jobs in Spain," Working Papers 2001-11, FEDEA.
  10. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1987. "Work, Rest, and Search: Unemployment, Turnover, and the Cycle," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(2), pages 131-48, April.
  11. J. J. McCall, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-126.
  12. Kambourov, Gueorgui & Manovskii, Iourii, 2004. "Occupational Mobility and Wage Inequality," IZA Discussion Papers 1189, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Richard Rogerson, 2010. "Indivisible Labor, Lotteries and Equilibrium," Levine's Working Paper Archive 250, David K. Levine.
  14. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2012. "Fixed-term employment contracts in an equilibrium search model," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 147(5), pages 1725-1753.
  15. Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Employment Flows, Capital Mobility, and Policy Analysis," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(3), pages 571-95, August.
  16. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 7773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Veracierto, Marcelo, 2007. "On the short-run effects of labor market reforms," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(4), pages 1213-1229, May.
  18. Prescott, Edward C. & Rios-Rull, Jose-Victor, 1992. "Classical competitive analysis of economies with Islands," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 57(1), pages 73-98.
  19. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  20. Veracierto, Marcelo, 2008. "On the cyclical behavior of employment, unemployment and labor force participation," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(6), pages 1143-1157, September.
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  23. 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.
  24. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
  25. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 1999. "Labor market policies in an equilibrium search model," Working Paper Series WP-99-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  26. 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 915-38, October.
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  28. Samuel Bentolila & Juan Jose Dolado & Juan F. Jimeno, 2008. "Two-tier Employment Protection Reforms: The Spanish Experience," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 6(4), pages 49-56, December.
  29. repec:pri:indrel:dsp011j92g746j is not listed on IDEAS
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  31. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
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