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

Severance pay programs around the world : history, rationale, status, and reforms

  • Holzmann, Robert
  • Pouget, Yann
  • Vodopivec, Milan
  • Weber, Michael

The paper examines severance pay programs around the world by providing the first ever overview of existing programs, examining their historic development, assessing their economic rationale and describing current reform attempts. While a significant part of the paper is devoted to a comprehensive 183 cross country review of existing severance arrangements and their characteristics, the paper goes beyond a mere description. It develops and empirically tests three hypotheses about the economic rationale of the program, namely severance pay being: (i) a primitive income protection program, (ii) an efficiency enhancing human resource instrument, and (iii) a job protection instrument. The paper also reviews the recent reforms of Austria, Chile, Italy, and Korea.

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 The World Bank in its series Social Protection Discussion Papers with number 62726.

in new window

Date of creation: 22 May 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wbk:hdnspu:62726
Contact details of provider: Postal: 1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433
Phone: (202) 477-1234
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. Reinhard Koman & Ulrich Schuh & Andrea Weber, 2005. "The Austrian Severance Pay Reform: Toward a Funded Pension Pillar," Empirica, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 255-274, 09.
  2. Kugler, Adriana & Jimeno, Juan F. & Hernanz, Virginia, 2002. "Employment Consequences of Restrictive Permanent Contracts: Evidence from Spanish Labor Market Reforms," IZA Discussion Papers 657, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Koeniger, Winfried, 2005. "Dismissal costs and innovation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 88(1), pages 79-84, July.
  4. John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta & Helena Schweiger, 2008. "Assessing Job Flows Across Countries: The Role of Industry, Firm Size and Regulations," NBER Working Papers 13920, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Andrea Bassanini & Luca Nunziata & Danielle Venn, 2009. "Job protection legislation and productivity growth in OECD countries," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 24, pages 349-402, 04.
  6. Pedro S. Martins, 2009. "Dismissals for Cause: The Difference That Just Eight Paragraphs Can Make," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(2), pages 257-279, 04.
  7. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino, 2003. "What Have We Learned About the Employment Effects of Severance Pay? Further Iterations of Lazear et al," IZA Discussion Papers 943, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Kugler, Adriana & Pica, Giovanni, 2005. "Effects of Employment Protection on Worker and Job Flows: Evidence from the 1990 Italian Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 1743, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Miguel Jaramillo & Jaime Saavedra, 2005. "Severance Payment Programs in Latin America," Empirica, Springer, vol. 32(3), pages 275-307, 09.
  10. Reyes Hartley, Gonzalo & van Ours, Jan C. & Vodopivec, Milan, 2010. "Incentive Effects of Unemployment Insurance Savings Accounts: Evidence from Chile," IZA Discussion Papers 4681, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  11. Gomez-Salvador, Ramon & Messina, Julian & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2004. "Gross job flows and institutions in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(4), pages 469-485, August.
  12. Messina, Julián & Vallanti, Giovanna, 2006. "Job Flow Dynamics and Firing Restrictions: Evidence from Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 2045, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Boeri, Tito & Jimeno, Juan F, 2003. "The Effects of Employment Protection: Learning from Variable Enforcement," CEPR Discussion Papers 3926, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  14. Jaime Saavedra & Mhmo Torero, 2004. "Labor Market Reforms and Their Impact over Formal Labor Demand and Job Market Turnover. The Case of Peru," NBER Chapters, in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 131-182 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Holzmann, Robert & Koettl, Johannes, 2011. "Portability of Pension, Health, and Other Social Benefits: Facts, Concepts, Issues," IZA Discussion Papers 5715, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Ferrer, Ana M. & Riddell, W. Craig, 2009. "Unemployment insurance savings accounts in Latin America : overview and assessment," Social Protection Discussion Papers 49173, The World Bank.
  17. Milan Vodopivec & Andreas W�rg�tter & Dhushyanth Raju, 2005. "Unemployment Benefit Systems in Central and Eastern Europe: A Review of the 1990s1," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 47(4), pages 615-651, December.
  18. Alvarez, Fernando & Veracierto, Marcelo, 2001. "Severance payments in an economy with frictions," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 477-498, June.
  19. Edward Whitehouse, 2007. "Pensions Panorama : Retirement-Income Systems in 53 Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7177.
  20. Riccardo Cesari & Giuseppe Grandi & Fabio Panetta, 2008. "Supplementary Pension Schemes in Italy: Features,Development and Opportunities for Workers," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 67(1), pages 21-73, March.
  21. Diego F. Angel-Urdinola & Arvo Kuddo, 2011. "Key Characteristics of Employment Regulations in the Middle East and North Africa," World Bank Other Operational Studies 10893, The World Bank.
  22. Ahsan, Ahmad & Pagés, Carmen, 2009. "Are all labor regulations equal? Evidence from Indian manufacturing," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 62-75, March.
  23. Mitra, Sophie & Posarac, Aleksandra & Vick, Brandon, 2011. "Disability and poverty in developing countries : a snapshot from the world health survey," Social Protection Discussion Papers 62564, The World Bank.
  24. Parsons, Donald O., 2010. "The Firing Cost Implications of Alternative Severance Pay Designs," IZA Discussion Papers 4967, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  25. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134.
  26. Parsons, Donald O., 2011. "Mandated Severance Pay and Firing Cost Distortions: A Critical Review of the Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 5776, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  27. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 7773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. John T. Addison & Paulino Teixeira, 2003. "The Economics of Employment Protection," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 24(1), pages 85-129, January.
  29. 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.
  30. Carolina Fugazza & Federica Teppa, 2005. "An Empirical Assessment of the Italian Severance Payment," CeRP Working Papers 38, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
  31. Jeffrey A. Miron & David N. Weil, 1997. "The Genesis and Evolution of Social Security," NBER Working Papers 5949, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. Christian Grund, 2006. "Severance payments for dismissed employees in Germany," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 22(1), pages 49-71, July.
  33. repec:ebd:wpaper:116 is not listed on IDEAS
  34. Sergio Cesaratto, 2008. "The Macroeconomics of the Pension Fund Reform and the case of the TFR reform in Italy," Department of Economics University of Siena 549, Department of Economics, University of Siena.
  35. 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.
  36. Edward P. Lazear, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726.
  37. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  38. Adriana Kugler & Giovanni Pica, 2005. "The Effects of Employment Protection on the Italian Labour Market," CSEF Working Papers 135, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  39. Andrea Bassanini & Andrea Garnero & Pascal Marianna & Sébastien Martin, 2010. "Institutional Determinants of Worker Flows: A Cross-Country/Cross-Industry Approach," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 107, OECD Publishing.
  40. 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.
  41. MacIsaac, Donna & Rama, Martin, 2001. "Mandatory severance pay : its coverage and effects in Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2626, The World Bank.
  42. Iglesias, Augusto & Palacios, Robert J., 2000. "Managing public pension reserves - Part I : evidence from the international experience," Social Protection Discussion Papers 21311, The World Bank.
  43. David H. Autor & William R. Kerr & Adriana D. Kugler, 2007. "Does Employment Protection Reduce Productivity? Evidence From US States," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 117(521), pages 189-217, 06.
  44. Miguel �. Malo, 2000. "A Simple Model of Severance Pay Determination: The Case of Individual Dismissals in Spain," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 14(2), pages 269-290, 06.
  45. Riccardo Calcagno & Roman Kraeussl & Chiara Monticone, 2007. "An Analysis of the Effects of the Severance Pay Reform on Credit to Italian SMEs," CeRP Working Papers 59, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).
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:wbk:hdnspu:62726. 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: (Raiden C. Dillard)

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.