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Why Do Firms Use Fixed-Term Contracts?

  • José Varejão


    (CETE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto)

  • Pedro Portugal


    (Banco de Portugal and Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

This paper investigates the reasons why firms use fixed-term contracts.Two distinctive features of these contracts - reduced firing costs and the prohibition of contract rollover - are highlighted. Firms' decision related to temporary contracts - the choice of the contract on offer and contract conversion - are modeled within standard adjustment costs and matching settings. Regression analysis is performed on the stock of fixed-term contracts and the flows of temporary workers to permanent positions. Results from a beta-binomial regression model indicate that screening workers for permanent positions is the single most important reason why firms use this type of contract.

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Paper provided by Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto in its series CEF.UP Working Papers with number 0310.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:por:cetedp:0310
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  1. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
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  4. 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.
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  7. Steven J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1990. "Gross Job Creation and Destruction: Microeconomic Evidence and Macroeconomic Implications," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1990, Volume 5, pages 123-186 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jennifer Hunt, 1994. "Firing Costs, Employment Fluctuations and Average Employment: An Examination of Germany," NBER Working Papers 4825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Susan N. Houseman, . "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles snh2001, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  10. Richard B. Freeman, 1981. "Union Wage Practices and Wage Dispersion within Establishments," NBER Working Papers 0752, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Maia Güell & Barbara Petrongolo, 2003. "How Binding are Legal Limits? Transitions from Termporary to Permanent Work in Spain," Working Papers 75, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  12. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, December.
  13. Heckman, James J & Willis, Robert J, 1977. "A Beta-logistic Model for the Analysis of Sequential Labor Force Participation by Married Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(1), pages 27-58, February.
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  15. Garcia Serrano, Carlos, 1999. "Worker Turnover and Job Reallocation: The Role of Fixed-Term Contracts," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 51(1), pages 237a, January.
  16. John M. Abowd & Patrick Corbel & Francis Kramarz, 1996. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," NBER Working Papers 5551, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448.
  18. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F214-F244, June.
  19. Ana Rute Cardoso & Pedro Portugal, 2005. "Contractual Wages and the Wage Cushion under Different Bargaining Settings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 875-902, October.
  20. Eric Maurin, 2000. "The European Paradox : Do Flexible Contracts Create Rigid Labor Markets ?," Working Papers 2000-07, Centre de Recherche en Economie et Statistique.
  21. Santos Silva, J.M.C. & Murteira, J.M.R., 2009. "Estimation of default probabilities using incomplete contracts data," Journal of Empirical Finance, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 457-465, June.
  22. Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, 2000. "Work Transitions into and Out of Involuntary Temporary Employment in a Segmented Market: Evidence from Spain," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(2), pages 309-325, January.
  23. Lane, Julia & Stevens, David & Burgess, Simon, 1996. "Worker and job flows," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 109-113, April.
  24. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
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