IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation

  • Marco Leonardi


    (University of Milan and IZA)

  • Giovanni Pica


    (Università di Salerno and CSEF)

This paper estimates the effect of employment protection legislation (EPL) on workers' individual wages in a quasi-experimental setting, exploiting a reform that introduced unjust-dismissal costs in Italy for firms below 15 employees and left firing costs unchanged for bigger firms. Accounting for the endogeneity of the treatment status, we find that the slight average wage reduction (between –0.4 and –0.1 percent) that follows the increase in EPL hides highly heterogeneous effects. Workers who change firm during the reform period suffer a drop in the entry wage, while incumbent workers are left unaffected. Results also indicate that the negative wage effect of the EPL reform is stronger on young blue collars and on workers at the low-end of the wage distribution. Finally, workers in low-employment regions suffer higher wage reductions after the reform. This pattern suggests that the ability of the employers to shift EPL costs onto wages depends on workers' and firms' relative bargaining power.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 265.

in new window

Date of creation: 21 Nov 2010
Date of revision: 13 May 2012
Publication status: Published in Economic Journal, 2013, 123(573), pp. 1236-1278.
Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:265
Contact details of provider: Postal: I-80126 Napoli
Phone: +39 081 - 675372
Fax: +39 081 - 675372
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. van der Wiel, Karen, 2008. "Better Protected, Better Paid: Evidence on How Employment Protection Affects Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 3352, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Card, David & Devicienti, Francesco & Maida, Agata, 2011. "Rent-Sharing, Hold-up, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6086, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Roberto Torrini & Fabiano Schivardi, 2004. "Threshold effects and firm size: The case of firing costs," 2004 Meeting Papers 445, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  4. Marco Leonardi & Giovanni Pica, 2010. "Who Pays for it? The Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Employment Protection Legislation," CSEF Working Papers 265, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy, revised 13 May 2012.
  5. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
  6. Hahn, Jinyong & Todd, Petra & Van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 2001. "Identification and Estimation of Treatment Effects with a Regression-Discontinuity Design," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(1), pages 201-09, January.
  7. Giuseppe Nicoletti & Stefano Scarpetta & Olivier Boylaud, 2000. "Summary Indicators of Product Market Regulation with an Extension to Employment Protection Legislation," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 226, OECD Publishing.
  8. Guido Imbens & Thomas Lemieux, 2007. "Regression Discontinuity Designs: A Guide to Practice," NBER Working Papers 13039, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Luigi Guiso & Luigi Pistaferri & Fabiano Schivardi, 2001. "Insurance within the Firm," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 414, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  10. Battistin, Erich & Rettore, Enrico, 2008. "Ineligibles and eligible non-participants as a double comparison group in regression-discontinuity designs," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 715-730, February.
  11. Andrea Borgarello & Pietro Garibaldi & Lia Pacelli, 2003. "Employment Protection Legislation and the Size of Firms," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 23, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  12. Belzil, Christian, 2000. "Job Creation and Job Destruction, Worker Reallocation, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 183-203, April.
  13. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Do Employment Protections Reduce Productivity? Evidence from U.S. States," NBER Working Papers 12860, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Devicenti francesco & Maida Agata & Sestito Paolo, 2005. "Downward Wage Rigidity in Italy : Micro-based Measures and Implications," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200503, University of Turin.
  15. Claudia Olivetti & Barbara Petrongolo, 2008. "Unequal Pay or Unequal Employment? A Cross-Country Analysis of Gender Gaps," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(4), pages 621-654, October.
  16. Robert C. Bird & John D. Knopf, 2009. "Do Wrongful-Discharge Laws Impair Firm Performance?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 52(2), pages 197-222, 05.
  17. Giuseppe Bertola & Richard Rogerson, 1996. "Institutions and Labor Reallocation," NBER Working Papers 5828, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Ervin Prifti & Daniela Vuri, 2012. "Employment Protection and Fertility: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," CEIS Research Paper 236, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 15 Apr 2013.
  19. 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.
  20. Giuseppe Tattara & Marco Valentini, 2005. "Job flows, worker flows and mismatching in Veneto manufacturing. 1982-1996," Labor and Demography 0511013, EconWPA.
  21. Bratti, Massimiliano & Del Bono, Emilia & Vuri, Daniela, 2004. "New Mothers' Labour Force Participation in Italy: The Role of Job Characteristics," IZA Discussion Papers 1111, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  22. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2009. "The effect of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: Evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries," Banco de Espa�a Working Papers 0914, Banco de Espa�a.
  23. Schivardi, Fabiano & Torrini, Roberto, 2005. "Identifying the Effects of Firing Restrictions Through Size-Contingent Differences in Regulation," CEPR Discussion Papers 5303, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  24. Adriana D. Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2006. "The Effects of Employment Protection and Product Market Regulations on the Italian Labour Market," Chapters, in: Labour Market Adjustments in Europe, chapter 4 Edward Elgar.
  25. Martins, Pedro S., 2007. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," IZA Discussion Papers 3112, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  26. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  27. Pierre Cahuc & Winfried Koeniger, 2007. "Feature: Employment Protection Legislation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 185-188, 06.
  28. McCrary, Justin, 2008. "Manipulation of the running variable in the regression discontinuity design: A density test," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 142(2), pages 698-714, February.
  29. Adriano Paggiaro & Enrico Rettore & Ugo Trivellato, 2009. "The Effect of a Longer Eligibility to a Labour Market Programme for Dismissed Workers," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 23(1), pages 37-66, 03.
  30. Christopher Erickson & Andrea Ichino, 1995. "Wage Differentials in Italy: Market Forces, Institutions, and Inflation," NBER Chapters, in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 265-306 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  31. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
  32. Pietro Garibaldi & Giovanni L. Violante, 2005. "The Employment Effects of Severance Payments with Wage Rigidities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(506), pages 799-832, October.
  33. Tito Boeri, 2004. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," 2004 Meeting Papers 445a, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  34. Cervini, María & Ramos, Xavier & Silva, José I., 2011. "Wage effects of non-wage labour costs," MPRA Paper 34033, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  35. Kugler, Adriana D. & Pica, Giovanni, 2005. "Effects of Employment Protection on Worker and Job Flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," CEPR Discussion Papers 5256, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  36. Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Job security, employment and wages," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 851-879, June.
  37. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
  38. Maia Guell, 2000. "Fixed-term contracts and unemployment: an efficiency wage analysis," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20181, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  39. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, December.
  40. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue III & Stewart J. Schwab, 2003. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," NBER Working Papers 9425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  41. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
  42. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
  43. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  44. Giulio Fella & Gianluca Violante & Marco Cozzi, 2010. "The Non-neutrality of Severance Payments with Incomplete Markets," 2010 Meeting Papers 644, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  45. Dolado Juan & Jansen Marcel & Jimeno Serrano Juan, 2007. "A Positive Analysis of Targeted Employment Protection Legislation," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-30, July.
  46. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2010. "Shirking and employment protection legislation: Evidence from a natural experiment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 276-280, May.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:265. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Lia Ambrosio)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.