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Labor Contracts and Flexibility: Evidence from a Labor Market Reform in Spain

  • Victor Aguirregabiria
  • Cesar Alonso-Borrego

This paper evaluates the effects on employment, job turnover and productivity of a labor market reform in Spain that eliminated dismissal costs for fixed-term or temporary contracts. Our empirical results are based on a panel of 2356 Spanish manufacturing firms for the period 1982-1993. We postulate and estimate a dynamic labor demand model with indefinite and fixed-term labor contracts, and a general structure of labor adjustment costs. Experiments using the estimated model show important positive effects of the reform on total employment (i.e., a 3.5% increase) and job turnover. There is a strong substitution of permanent by temporary workers (i.e., a 10% decline in permanent employment). The effects on labor productivity and the value of a firm are very small. These effects contrast with the ones of a counterfactual reform consisting in halving firing costs of all type of contracts. That policy implies the same increase in total employment, but much larger improvements in productivity, and the value of firms.

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Paper provided by University of Toronto, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number tecipa-346.

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Length: 50 pages
Date of creation: 11 Feb 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:tor:tecipa:tecipa-346
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  1. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-38, October.
  2. PFANN, Gerard A. & PALM, Franz C., . "Asymmetric adjustment costs in non-linear labour demand models for the Netherlands and U.K. manufacturing sectors," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1044, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Hunt, Jennifer, 2000. "Firing Costs, Employment Fluctuations and Average Employment: An Examination of Germany," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 67(266), pages 177-202, May.
  4. Rust, John, 1987. "Optimal Replacement of GMC Bus Engines: An Empirical Model of Harold Zurcher," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 55(5), pages 999-1033, September.
  5. George S Olley & Ariel Pakes, 1992. "The Dynamics Of Productivity In The Telecommunications Equipment Industry," Working Papers 92-2, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  6. Newey, Whitney K., 1984. "A method of moments interpretation of sequential estimators," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 14(2-3), pages 201-206.
  7. Hansen, Lars Peter & Singleton, Kenneth J, 1982. "Generalized Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Rational Expectations Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(5), pages 1269-86, September.
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