The Political Economy of Labour Market Institutions

Hardcover | October 1, 2000

byGilles Saint-Paul

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According to most orthodox economists, labour market rigidities are the key culprit for such high unemployment as has been observed in Europe during the past three decades. But governments that have attempted to follow the standard prescription of removing rigidities have often faced harshpolitical opposition. This book looks at why labour market institutions such as employment protection, unemployment benefits, and relative wage rigidities exist, what role they play in society, why they seem so persistent, where the pressure to reform them comes from, and whether reform can be politically viable or not. The book ascribes a central role to the existence of underlying microeconomic frictions and to redistributive pressures between rich and poor, and shows how these ingredients may give rise to labour market rents, which in turn explain why a coherent set of rigidities arise as the outcome of thepolitical process. It is also shown that, at the same time, such rents create resistance to reform, and contribute to locking society into a high-unemployment, rigid equilibrium. Finally, the basic principles exposed in the book are used to discuss various strategies for a successful labour marketreform.

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According to most orthodox economists, labour market rigidities are the key culprit for such high unemployment as has been observed in Europe during the past three decades. But governments that have attempted to follow the standard prescription of removing rigidities have often faced harshpolitical opposition. This book looks at why la...

Gilles Saint-Paul is professor of economics at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, and a research fellow of CEPR, London, and IZA, Bonn. He earned his Ph.D. at MIT and then worked as a researcher at CERAS and DELTA in Paris before moving to Barcelona. He has been a visiting professor at MIT, UCLA, and CEMFI in Madrid. He has s...

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Format:HardcoverPublished:October 1, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198293321

ISBN - 13:9780198293323

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I. The support for labour market regulations1. The no-rent society2. A less perfect world: market rents and redistributive conflict3. Wage rigidity and social cohesion4. Employment protection5. Unemployment benefits and other measures for the unemployedPart II. The political economy of labour market reform6. The constituency effect7. The identifiability effect8. Two-tier systems9. Politico-economic complementarities