Working papers

Awards: EALE job market tour 2023, Restud tour 2023, W.E. Upjohn Institute dissertation award

Abstract: This paper examines the effects of working time regulations on the allocation of workers and hours. I exploit a unique reform introducing a minimum workweek of 24 hours in France in 2014, affecting 15% of jobs. Drawing on administrative data and an event study design, I find a firm-level reduction in total hours worked, showing imperfect substitutability between workers and hours. The effects differ by gender: women working part-time were replaced by men working longer hours. Importantly, workers also reallocate between firms. To quantify the aggregate impact accounting for these effects, I build and estimate a search and matching model with firm and worker heterogeneity. Overall, the minimum workweek increased total hours worked by 1% due to positive general equilibrium effects, but concentrated hours among fewer workers as unemployment rose by 2%. Gender inequality increased because of the within-firm effects and less reallocation of women between firms.

[Previously titled "Employment Effects of Restricting Fixed-Term Contracts: Theory and Evidence"]

CEPR discussion paper, IZA discussion paper

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

Abstract: Estimates of the impact on employment protection generally rely on reduced-form methods, assuming that there are no indirect effects between firms. This paper exploits a labor law reform implemented in Portugal in 2009 which restricted the use of fixed-term contracts for large firms above a specific size threshold, to investigate and quantify spillover effects. Standard reduced-form estimates based on the hypothesis of absence of spillover towards firms for which the reform does not apply yield a negative impact on employment of about 1.5%. However, we find evidence of significant spillovers. The estimation of the macroeconomic effects of the reform with a search and matching model accounting for spillovers yields an almost negligible employment impact of the reform, more than ten times smaller than that obtained with the reduced form estimates. This result underlines that the numerous reduced-form estimates of the impact of employment protection that rely on firm size thresholds must be interpreted with caution.

Selected work in progress

Abstract: Do the employer and employee involved in a dismissal cooperate to maximize their remaining gains from trade? Or do the parties engage in actions that impose costs on one another or even on themselves? We generate a sharp test of how efficiently dismissals play out by measuring whether from a menu of legal vehicles of job termination, the least costly mode is chosen. Our strategy exploits the 2008 introduction of separations by mutual agreement (SMAs) in France. SMAs are the bilaterally efficient choice as they are much less costly than traditional dismissals: they waive all dismissal regulations and red-tape costs, preserve UI eligibility, and permit the parties to flexibly structure separation terms and to strike Coasean bargains. Hence, SMAs should fully replace dismissals. We use three strategies to measure the share of dismissals that were converted into SMAs, drawing on aggregate time series data, surveys, and difference-in-differences. We estimate that only about 12% of dismissals were converted into SMAs. That is, 88% of French dismissals instead end up in the inefficient, costly mode of separation of traditional dismissals, despite near-ideal institutional conditions for the Coasean bargain. Our paper also provides suggestive evidence on the potential mechanisms driving this margin of failure of bilateral efficiency. Hostility or fairness concerns appear to play a key role in preventing conversions of dismissals into SMAs as (i) conflictual relationships between employees and employers predict the lack of conversion, (ii) dismissals that end up in court do not convert, and (iii) cooperative pre-retirement dismissals are more likely replaced by SMAs.

Policy work

Media: Le Monde, BFM TV, FranceInfo