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Product Market Reforms and Employment in OECD Countries

  • Giuseppe Nicoletti
  • Stefano Scarpetta

We estimate the employment effects of product market reforms aimed at increasing competitive pressures and easing government controls in a sample of OECD countries over the past two decades. We control for several labour market policies and institutions that are thought to influence equilibrium employment rates, and check whether there are interactions between these policies and product market reforms. We find cross-country evidence that some labour and product market policies may be complementary and adjust for this in regressions. Consistent with the implications of the imperfect competition/bargaining model of Blanchard and Giavazzi (2003), our estimates suggest that restrictive regulations have curbed employment rates significantly in countries where no product market reforms were implemented. These effects appear to have been magnified by the interaction of such regulations with labour market settings that provide a strong bargaining power to insiders, suggesting that rent sharing tends to depress employment. The implication is that significant employment gains can be obtained by deregulating product markets in overly regulated countries. Moreover, these employment gains are likely to be higher in countries that have rigid labour markets. Effets sur l'emploi des réformes des marchés des biens et services dans les pays de l'OCDE Nous estimons l'impact sur l'emploi de réformes des marchés des biens et services augmentant la pression concurrentielle et allégeant le poids des règlementations, sur la base d’un échantillon de pays de l’OCDE et au cours des vingt dernières années. Les variables de contrôle incluent différents instruments de politique de l’emploi susceptibles de modifier le niveau des taux de chômage d’équilibre ou d’interagir avec les réformes du marché des biens. En effet, certaines politiques de l’emploi paraissent complémentaires de réformes sur le marché des biens. Les résultats obtenus sont cohérents avec le modèle de négociation et compétition imparfaite de Blanchard et Giavazzi (2003). Ils suggèrent que des règlementations restrictives se seraient traduites par des effets défavorables importants sur l’emploi dans les pays où aucune réforme significative sur le marché des biens n’a été mise en oeuvre. Ces effets défavorables auraient été renforcés par des institutions conférant un fort pouvoir de négociation aux insiders, accréditant l’idée selon laquelle la constitution de rente de situation sur le marché du travail pèse sur l’emploi. En termes de politique économique, cet article suggère que des gains significatifs quant au niveau de l’emploi peuvent être attendus d’une dérèglementation des marchés des biens dans les pays exagérément restrictifs dans ce domaine. Ces gains seraient d’autant plus élevés que les rigidités sur le marché du travail sont importantes.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Economics Department Working Papers with number 472.

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Date of creation: 16 Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:ecoaaa:472-en
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