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Should the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts increase in recessions? Evidence from a law reform

Listed author(s):
  • Martins, Pedro S.

Fixed-term contracts (FTCs) may be an important tool to promote employment, particularly in recessions or when permanent contracts are costly. Therefore, it may be useful to vary some of the legal parameters of FTCs over the business cycle, namely increasing their flexibility during downturns. We evaluate this idea by examining the effects of a 2011 law that increased the maximum duration of FTCs in Portugal, in the midst of a recession. Our analysis is based on regression-discontinuity (and difference-in-differences) methods and linked panel data. We find a considerable take up of this measure, as conversions to permanent contracts drop by 20%. Worker churning is reduced significantly, as mobility of eligible fixed-term workers to other firms drops by 10%. Employment also increases significantly for younger workers.

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Paper provided by Global Labor Organization (GLO) in its series GLO Discussion Paper Series with number 101.

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Date of creation: 2017
Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:101
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  1. J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Ioana Marinescu & Judit Vall Castello, 2014. "Can Fixed-Term Contracts Put Low Skilled Youth on a Better Career Path? Evidence from Spain," Working Papers 2014-08, FEDEA.
  2. Pedro S. Martins, 2016. "Can overtime premium flexibility promote employment? Firm- and worker-level evidence from a labour law reform," Working Papers 72, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  3. Marcus Hagedorn & Iourii Manovskii & Kurt Mitman, 2015. "The Impact of Unemployment Benefit Extensions on Employment: The 2014 Employment Miracle?," NBER Working Papers 20884, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Pedro Martins & Andy Snell & Heiko Stueber & Jonathan Thomas, 2016. "Bias in Returns to Tenure When Firm Wages and Employment Comove: A Quantitative Assessment and Solution," FEUNL Working Paper Series wp601, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Faculdade de Economia.
  5. Hijzen, Alexander & Martins, Pedro S., 2016. "No Extension Without Representation? Evidence from a Natural Experiment in Collective Bargaining," IZA Discussion Papers 10204, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Andrea Ichino & Regina T. Riphahn, 2005. "The Effect of Employment Protection on Worker Effort: Absenteeism During and After Probation," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 3(1), pages 120-143, March.
  7. Damas de Matos, Ana & Parent, Daniel, 2016. "Which firms create fixed-term employment? Evidence from Portugal," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 348-362.
  8. Martins, Pedro S. & Pessoa e Costa, Sofia, 2014. "Reemployment and Substitution Effects from Increased Activation: Evidence from Times of Crisis," IZA Discussion Papers 8600, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. 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, April.
  10. Centeno, Mário & Novo, Álvaro A., 2012. "Excess worker turnover and fixed-term contracts: Causal evidence in a two-tier system," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 320-328.
  11. O Blanchard & A Landier, 2002. "The Perverse Effects of Partial Labour Market Reform: fixed--Term Contracts in France," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 214-244, June.
  12. Martins, Pedro S., 2014. "30,000 Minimum Wages: The Economic Effects of Collective Bargaining Extensions," IZA Discussion Papers 8540, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  13. Pedro S. Martins, 2008. "Worker churning and firms' wage policies," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 29(1), pages 48-63, March.
  14. Pedro S. Martins & Sofia Pessoa e Costa, 2014. "Reemployment effects from increased activation: Evidence from times of crisis," Working Papers 52, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
  15. Renato Faccini, 2014. "Reassessing Labour Market Reforms: Temporary Contracts as a Screening Device," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 124(575), pages 167-200, 03.
  16. Pedro Portugal & José Varejão, 2010. "The Hidden Side of Temporary Employment: Fixed-term Contracts as a Screening Device," Working Papers w201029, Banco de Portugal, Economics and Research Department.
  17. 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 201-209, January.
  18. Pedro S. Martins, 2014. "30,000 minimum wages: The economic effects of collective agreement extensions," Working Papers 51, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
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