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Assessing the Long-Run Economic Impact of Labour Law Systems: A Theoretical Reappraisal and Analysis of New Time Series Data

  • Simon Deakin

    (University of Cambridge)

  • Prabirjit Sarkar

    (Jadavpur University, Kolkata)

Standard economic theory sees labour law as an exogenous interference with market relations and predicts mostly negative impacts on employment and productivity. We argue for a more nuanced theoretical position: labour law is, at least in part, endogenous, with both the production and the application of labour law norms influenced by national and sectoral contexts, and by complementarities between the institutions of the labour market and those of corporate governance and financial markets. Legal origin may also operate as a force shaping the content of the law and its economic impact. Time-series analysis using a new dataset on legal change from the 1970s to the mid-2000s shows evidence of positive correlations between regulation and growth in employment and productivity, at least for France and Germany. No relationship, either positive or negative is found for the UK and although the US shows a weak negative relationship between regulation and employment growth, this is offset by productivity gains.vestigation but it is premature to use legal origin theory as a basis for policy initiatives.

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Paper provided by ESRC World Economy and Finance Research Programme, Birkbeck, University of London in its series WEF Working Papers with number 0043.

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Date of creation: Sep 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wef:wpaper:0043
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