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Labor Laws and Innovation

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Listed:
  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Ramin P. Baghai
  • Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian

Abstract

Stringent labor laws can provide firms a commitment device to not punish short-run failures and thereby spur their employees to pursue value-enhancing innovative activities. Using patents and citations as proxies for innovation, we identify this effect by exploiting the time-series variation generated by staggered country-level changes in dismissal laws. We find that within a country, innovation and economic growth are fostered by stringent laws governing dismissal of employees, especially in the more innovation-intensive sectors. Firm-level tests within the United States that exploit a discontinuity generated by the passage of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act confirm the cross-country evidence.

Suggested Citation

  • Viral V. Acharya & Ramin P. Baghai & Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian, 2010. "Labor Laws and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 16484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16484
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F30 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - General
    • G31 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Capital Budgeting; Fixed Investment and Inventory Studies
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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