Labour Market Regulations and Capital Labour Substitution

28 Pages Posted: 8 Oct 2016

See all articles by Gilbert Cette

Gilbert Cette

Banque de France

Jimmy Lopez

LEDi; Microeconomic and Structural Analysis Directorate

Jacques Mairesse

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST); Maastricht University - United Nations and Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: October 2016

Abstract

On the basis of a country*industry unbalanced panel data sample for 14 OECD countries and 18 industries covering the years 1988 to 2007, this study proposes an econometric investigation of the effects of the OECD Employment Protection Legislation (EPL) indicator on four components of total capital and for two skill components of total labor. Relying on a difference-in-difference econometric approach, we find that an increase in EPL has (i) positive and significant effects on the non-ICT capital - labor ratio and the share of high-skill labor; (ii) non-significant effects on the ICT capital – labor ratio; (iii) negative and significant effects for R&D capital – labor ratio and the share of low-skilled labor. These results suggest that firms consider that the strengthening of Employment Protection Legislation is equivalent to a rise in the cost of labour, resulting in capital-to-labour substitution in favour of non-ICT capital and working at the disadvantage of low-skill relatively to high-skill workers. They indicate to the contrary that structural reforms for more labour flexibility weakening this legislation could have a favourable impact on firms’ R&D investment and their hiring of low-skill workers.

Keywords: Capital intensity, labour market regulations, factor substitution, R&D capital

JEL Classification: E22, E24, O30 ; L50, O43, O47, C23

Suggested Citation

Cette, Gilbert and Lopez, Jimmy and Mairesse, Jacques, Labour Market Regulations and Capital Labour Substitution (October 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2848383 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2848383

Gilbert Cette (Contact Author)

Banque de France ( email )

Paris
France

Jimmy Lopez

LEDi ( email )

Boulevard Gabriel
Dijon, Bougogne 21000
France

Microeconomic and Structural Analysis Directorate ( email )

Paris
France

Jacques Mairesse

National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) - Center for Research in Economics and Statistics (CREST) ( email )

15 Boulevard Gabriel Peri
Malakoff Cedex, 1 92245
France

Maastricht University - United Nations and Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (UNU-MERIT)

Keizer Karelplein 19
6211 TC Maastricht
Netherlands

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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