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The Regulation of Labor

  • Simeon Djankov
  • Rafael La Porta
  • Florencio Lopez-de-Silane
  • Andrei Shleifer
  • Juan Botero

We investigate the regulation of labor markets through employment laws, collective bargaining laws, and social security laws in 85 countries. We find that richer countries regulate labor less than poorer countries do, although they have more generous social security systems. The political power of the left is associated with more stringent labor regulations and more generous social security systems. Socialist and French legal origin countries have sharply higher levels of labor regulation than do common law countries, and the inclusion of legal origin wipes out the effect of the political power of the left. Heavier regulation of labor is associated with a larger unofficial economy, lower labor force participation, and higher unemployment, especially of the young. These results are difficult to reconcile with efficiency and political power theories of institutional choice, but are broadly consistent with legal theories, according to which countries have pervasive regulatory styles inherited from the transplantation of legal systems.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w9756.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9756.

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Date of creation: Jun 2003
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Publication status: published as Juan Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael Porta & Florencio C. Lopez-De-Silanes, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382, November.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9756
Note: EFG LS LE PE
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  1. La Porta, Rafael & Lopez-de-Silanes, Florencio & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert, 1999. "The Quality of Government," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 222-79, April.
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  24. Dominik H. Enste & Friedrich Schneider, 2000. "Shadow Economies: Size, Causes, and Consequences," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 38(1), pages 77-114, March.
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  26. Rafael Di Tella & Alberto Ades, 1999. "Rents, Competition, and Corruption," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(4), pages 982-993, September.
  27. 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.
  28. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
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