Structural Reforms and Labor Market Outcomes: International Panel Data Evidence
42 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2014
This paper explores the impact of structural reforms on a comprehensive set of macro-level labor-market outcomes, including the unemployment rate, the average wage index, and overall and female employment levels and labor force participation rates. Together these outcome variables capture the overall health of the labor market and the aggregate welfare of workers. Yet, there seems to be no other comprehensive empirical investigation in the existing literature of the impact of structural reforms at the cross-country macro level on labor-market outcomes other than the unemployment rate. Data were collected from a variety of sources, including the World Bank World Development Indicators, the International Monetary Fund International Financial Statistics, and the International Labor Organization Key Indicators of the Labor Market. The resulting dataset covers up to 88 countries, the majority being developing, for 10 years on either side of structural reforms that took place between 1960 and 2001. After documenting the average trends across countries in the labor-market outcomes up to 10 years on either side of each country?s structural reform year, the authors run fixed-effects ordinary least squares as well as instrumental variables regressions to account for the likely endogeneity of structural reforms to labor-market outcomes. Overall the results suggest that structural reforms lead to positive outcomes for labor. Unlike related literature, the paper does not find conclusive evidence on unemployment. Redistributive effects in favor of workers, along the lines of the Stolper-Samuelson effect, may be at work.
Keywords: Employment and Shared Growth, Consumption, Social Protections & Assistance, Economic Theory & Research, International Trade and Trade Rules, Equity and Development, Pro-Poor Growth, Achieving Shared Growth, Fiscal & Monetary Policy, Economic Growth, Industrial Economics
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