Working papers

  • Employment Effects of Restricting Fixed Term Contracts: Theory and Evidence (with Pierre Cahuc, Franck Malherbet and Pedro S. Martins), Submitted

CEPR discussion paper, IZA discussion paper

Media: Vox column, Expresso, Portuguese Economy Research Report, Atlantico

Abstract: This paper examines a labor law reform implemented in Portugal in 2009 which restricted the use of fixed-term contracts to reduce labor market segmentation. The reform targeted establishments created by large firms above a specific size threshold, covering about 15% of total employment. Drawing on linked employer-employee longitudinal data and regression discontinuity methods, we find that, while the reform was successful in reducing the number of fixed-term jobs, it did not increase the number of permanent contracts and decreased employment in large firms. However, we find evidence of positive spillovers to small firms that may bias reduced form estimates. To evaluate general equilibrium effects, we build and estimate a directed search and matching model with endogenous number of establishments and jobs. We find spillover effects that induce small biases on reduced form estimates but that significantly change the evaluation of the overall impact of the reform because they diffuse to the whole economy. We estimate that the reform slightly reduced aggregate employment and had negative effects on the welfare of employees and unemployed workers.

Work in Progress

  • The Effects of Minimum Working Hours: Theory and Evidence

Abstract: This paper studies how firms respond to the implementation of a floor for hours of work. In 2014, the French government introduced a minimum work week of 24 hours in order to reduce involuntary part time employment. As a result, a job with less than 24 hours per week cannot be created unless the worker asks explicitly for that. I rely on linked employer-employee data and an event study design to assess the employment effects of the policy. I find that the reform reduced both hires and the number of workers in the firm (negative extensive margin effect) and increased average hours worked (positive intensive margin effect). The latter comes from an increase in the number of full-time workers rather than part-time workers above 24 hours. Overall, total hours worked in the firm decreased significantly. Second, I find that the negative effect on employment is two times larger for women as compared to men. This results from both a strong decrease in part time employment for women and a stronger increase in full time employment for men. These findings suggest that firms tend to substitute men working full time for women working less than 24 hours. Reduced-form evidence also indicates that men benefited from indirect reallocation effects while these effects are close to zero for women. Third, I rely on a structural model in order to account for the indirect effects induced by the regulation and to quantify the macro impact of the reform. I build a search and matching model with heterogeneous workers and heterogeneous large firms. The framework allows for within- and between-firm heterogeneity in hours worked. The model predicts positive general equilibrium effects on employment and reallocation patterns that benefit more to men.