Cross country differences in job reallocation: The role of industry, firm size and regulations

John Haltiwanger, Stefano Scarpetta and Helena Schweiger , Labour Economics 26 , 11-25 , January 2014.

Somewhat surprisingly, cross-country empirical evidence (at least in the cross section) does not seem to support the predictions of standard models that economies with stricter regulations on hiring and firing should have a lower pace of job reallocation. One problem in exploring these issues empirically has been the difficulty of comparing countries on the basis of harmonized measures of job reallocation. A related problem is that there may be unobserved measurement errors or other factors accounting for differences in job reallocation across countries. This paper overcomes these challenges by using harmonized measures of job creation and destruction in a sample of 16 industrial and emerging economies, exploiting the country, industry and firm size dimensions. The analysis of variance in the paper shows that firm size effects are a dominant factor in accounting for the variation in the pace of job reallocation across country, industry and size cells. However, even after controlling for industry and size effects there remain significant differences in job flows across countries that could reflect differences in labor market regulations. We use the harmonized data to explore this hypothesis with a difference-in-difference approach. We find strong and robust evidence that stringent hiring and firing regulations tend to reduce the pace of job reallocation.

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