March 2005

IZA DP No. 1548: The Impact of Employment Protection Mandates on Demographic Temporary Employment Patterns: International Microeconomic Evidence

published in: Economic Journal, 2007, 117(521), F333-F356

Using 1994-98 International Adult Literacy Survey (IALS) microdata, this paper investigates the impact of employment protection laws on the incidence of temporary employment by demographic group. More stringent employment protection for regular jobs is predicted to increase the relative incidence of temporary employment for less experienced and less skilled workers. I test this reasoning using IALS data for Canada, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States, countries with widely differing levels of mandated employment protection. Across these countries, the strength of such mandates (as measured by the OECD) is positively associated with the relative incidence of temporary employment for young workers, native women, immigrant women and those with low cognitive ability. These effects largely hold up when I adjust for the possible sample selection due to the fact that employment to population ratios differ across countries. Moreover, the effects of protection on the young, women, and immigrants are stronger in countries with higher levels of collective bargaining coverage, suggesting a connection between binding wage floors and the allocative effects of employment protection mandates.