Mr. Antonio David, Samuel Pienknagura, and Mr. Jorge Roldos
Labor markets in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) are characterized by high levels of informality and relatively rigid regulation. This paper shows that these two features are related and together make the speed of adjustment of employment to shocks slower, especially when regulations are tightly enforced. Evidence suggests that strict labor market regulations also have an adverse effect on medium-term growth. While both regulations on prices (minimum wages) and quantities (employment protection) decrease the speed of adjustment to shocks, they appear to be binding in different phases of the cycle—the former affects mostly the (net) job creation margin and the latter the (net) job destruction margin. The results also highlight possible interactions between labor market regulations and the effectiveness of macro-stabilization tools—including exchange rate depreciation.
Angana Banerji, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, Ms. Huidan Huidan Lin, and Mr. Rodolphe Blavy
The SDN will assess the youth unemployment problem in advanced European countries, with a special focus on the euro area. It will document the main trends in youth and adult unemployment in 22 European countries before and after the global financial crisis. It will identify the main drivers of youth and adult unemployment, focusing in particular on the role of the business cycle and structural characteristics of the labor market. It will outline the main elements of a comprehensive strategy to address the problem.
Ms. Magda E. Kandil, Mrs. Genevieve M Lindow, Mr. Mario Mansilla, Mr. Joel Chiedu Okwuokei, Jochen M. Schmittmann, Qiaoe Chen, Xin Li, Marika Santoro, and Solomon Stavis
The paper examines the determinants of employment growth, drawing on data available across a sample of Caribbean countries. To that end, the paper analyzes estimates of the employment-output elasticity and the response of employment growth to major sources of labor market determinants, in the long and short run. The main determinants of employment include government investment and private sector credit, while the major determinants of external performance are real effective exchange rate, the price of major exporting commodities, the number of tourists, and growth in major trading partners. The paper concludes with a menu of policy recommendations and structural reforms towards sustaining high employment growth and higher living standards in the Caribbean.
The theoretical literature has argued that a centralized wage bargaining system may result in low regional wage differentiation and high regional unemployment differentials. The empirical literature has found that centralized wage bargaining leads to lower wage inequality for different skills, industries and population groups, but has not investigated its impact on regional wage differentiation. Empirical evidence in this paper for EU regions for the period 1980-2000 suggests that countries with more coordinated wage bargaining systems have lower regional wage differentials, after controlling for regional productivity and unemployment differentials.
Euro-area real wages have decelerated sharply in the last 20 years, but this has not yet translated into visibly lower unemployment or faster growth. Weak output growth after such a cost shock is somewhat puzzling and has led some to question the benefits of wage moderation. By isolating structural from cyclical factors in a panel of industrial countries, I show that structurally slower real wage growth, that is, "wage moderation," does raise output growth and lower unemployment rates. However, I show that the impact on both variables depends crucially on product market regulation: weaker competition and barriers to entry mute the growth effects of structural real wage changes by allowing incumbent firms to appropriate larger rents. In this context, overly regulated product markets in the euro area are undermining the effects of labor market reforms on output and employment.
In flow models of the labor market, wages are determined by negotiations between workers and employers on the surplus value of a realized match. From this perspective, this paper presents an econometric analysis of the influence of labor market flows on wage formation as an alternative to the traditional specification of wage equations in which unemployment represents Phillipscurve or wage-curve effects. The paper estimates a dynamic wage equation for the Netherlands using a cointegration approach. It finds that labor flows, and notably flows from outside the labor market, are important determinants of both short-run and long-run wage setting.
The literature on the relationship between the unemployment rate and wage bargaining fails to separate the offsetting effects of a reduction in competition associated with centralized bargaining and the increased awareness of unemployment externalities. This paper uses OECD data to distinguish these effects. While wages have become more sensitive to changes in the unemployment rate in countries that have switched to centralized wage-bargaining arrangements, the industry wage is not particularly sensitive to internal factors (relative price and productivity shifts) in economies with centralized/industry-level bargaining arrangements. The latter effect dominates in terms of persistently high unemployment and weaker growth.
Unemployment has remained high in the Philippines, at almost twice the level of neighboring countries, despite relatively fast employment growth in the past decade. Employment growth was not sufficient to reduce unemployment because of rapid population growth and increased labor force participation. This paper shows that Philippine employment growth and unemployment declines were positively correlated with real GDP growth and, to a lesser extent, negatively with the real minimum wage. The key policy implications are that higher economic growth and moderation of increases in the real minimum wage are required to reduce unemployment.
This Selected Issues paper addresses the question of what policy changes in France are needed under European Monetary Union (EMU), as regards the role of fiscal policy in stabilizing the economy. The fiscal strategy over the past two and a half decades is reviewed, and, against this background, an assessment is offered concerning the role and scope of fiscal stabilizers in France under EMU. The main conclusions is that over the past two and a half decades, fiscal policy operated in a clear countercyclical way in France, but this reflected essentially the functioning of automatic stabilizers.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes the sources of the persistence of geographical unemployment imbalances and low speed of adjustment to regional labor demand shocks in Spain. The paper argues that, under present labor market arrangements, these imbalances are unlikely to be corrected in the near future. In particular, the current wage bargaining system appears to be excessively centralized and to result in nationally set wages that are too high to reduce unemployment in high-unemployment areas. The paper also analyzes the May 1997 labor market reform.