The Political Economy of Employment Protection

Posted: 30 Jun 2002

See all articles by Gilles Saint-Paul

Gilles Saint-Paul

University of Toulouse I - GREMAQ-IDEI; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Abstract

This paper develops a model of job creation and job destruction in a growing economy with embodied technical progress, which I use to analyze the political support for employment protection laws such as the ones that are observed in most European countries. In voting in favor of employment protection, incumbent employees trade off lower living standards (because employment protection maintains workers in less productive activities) against longer job duration. The latter is valued because the employed have rents, achieving wages above their alternative value. The gains from, and consequently the political support for, employment protection are larger the lower the rate of creative destruction (i.e., the lower the growth rate) and the larger the employed's bargaining power. Hence, employment protection is more likely to arise in economies with greater worker bargaining power. Also, workers in older vintages are more in favor of employment protection. Consequently, greater initial protection increases its own support by maintaining a larger fraction of the workforce in older vintages. Finally, if workers can invest ex ante in match-specific human capital, multiple steady-state political equilibria may arise, as the outcome of the mutual feedback between employee rents and employment protection.

Suggested Citation

Saint-Paul, Gilles, The Political Economy of Employment Protection. Journal of Political Economy, Vol. 110, June 2002. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=309728

Gilles Saint-Paul (Contact Author)

University of Toulouse I - GREMAQ-IDEI ( email )

Manufacture des Tabacs
21 Allees de Brienne
Toulouse, 31000
France
+33 5 6112 8544 (Phone)
+33 5 6122 5563 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
742
PlumX Metrics