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The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement

  • Tito Boeri

Employment protection legislations (EPL) are not enforced uniformly across the board. There are a number of exemptions to the coverage of these provisions: firms below a given threshold scale and workers with temporary contracts are not subject to the most restrictive provisions. This within country variation in enforcement allows to make inferences on the impact of EPL which go beyond the usual cross-country approach. In this paper we develop a simple model which explains why these exemptions are in place to start with. Then we empirically assess the effects of EPL on dismissal probabilities, based on a double-difference approach. Our results are in line with the predictions of the theoretical model. Workers in firms exempted from EPL are more likely to be laid-off. We do not observe this effect in the case of temporary workers. There is no effect of the exemption threshold on the growth of firms.

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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2004 Meeting Papers with number 445a.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:red:sed004:445a
Contact details of provider: Postal: Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA
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  1. Kugler, Adriana & Saint-Paul, Gilles, 2000. "Hiring and Firing Costs, Adverse Selection and Long-term Unemployment," IZA Discussion Papers 134, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan & Bonin, Holger, 2004. "Dismissal protection and worker flows in small establishments," IAB Discussion Paper 200401, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  3. Nickell, Stephen & Layard, Richard, 1999. "Labor market institutions and economic performance," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 46, pages 3029-3084 Elsevier.
  4. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labor Market," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 28, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  5. Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli & Andrea Borgarello, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," Working Papers 247, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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  7. bertola, G. & Rogerson, R., 1996. "Institutions and Labor Reallocation," Papers 272, Banca Italia - Servizio di Studi.
  8. Boeri, Tito, 1999. "Enforcement of employment security regulations, on-the-job search and unemployment duration," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 43(1), pages 65-89, January.
  9. Kugler, Adriana D. & Pica, Giovanni, 2004. "Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 4216, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
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  12. Charles Brown & James L. Medoff, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," NBER Working Papers 2870, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Stephen Nickell & D Nicolitsas, 1994. "Wages," CEP Discussion Papers dp0219, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Dolado, Juan J. & Garcia-Serrano, Carlos & Jimeno, Juan F, 2001. "Drawing Lessons From the Boom of Temporary Jobs in Spain," CEPR Discussion Papers 2884, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Giuseppe BERTOLA & Tito BOERI & Sandrine CAZES, 2000. "Employment protection in industrialized countries: The case for new indicators," International Labour Review, International Labour Organization, vol. 139(1), pages 57-72, 03.
  16. Hernanz, Virginia & Jimeno, Juan F & Kugler, Adriana D., 2003. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labour Market Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3724, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  18. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:105:y:1990:i:3:p:699-726 is not listed on IDEAS
  19. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  20. Richard Jackman & Richard Layard & Stephen Nickell, 1996. "Combatting Unemployment: Is Flexibility Enough?," CEP Discussion Papers dp0293, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  21. Winter-Ebmer, Rudolf, 2001. "Firm Size, Earnings, and Displacement Risk," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 39(3), pages 474-86, July.
  22. Fabiano Schivardi & Roberto Torrini, 2003. "Firm Size Distribution and EPL in Italy," William Davidson Institute Working Papers Series 2003-613, William Davidson Institute at the University of Michigan.
  23. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
  24. Gregg, Paul & Manning, Alan, 1997. "Skill-biassed change, unemployment and wage inequality," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(6), pages 1173-1200, June.
  25. repec:rwi:dpaper:0012 is not listed on IDEAS
  26. Bauer, Thomas K. & Bender, Stefan & Bonin, Holger, 2004. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," RWI Discussion Papers 14, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung (RWI).
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