This paper documents recent labor market performance in the Latin American region. The paper shows that unemployment, informality, and inequality have been falling over the past two decades, though still remain high. By contrast, productivity has remained stubbornly low. The paper, then, turns to the potential impacts of various labor market institutions, including employment protection legislation (EPL), minimum wages (MW), payroll taxes, unemployment insurance (UI) and collective bargaining, as well as the impacts of demographic changes on labor market performance. The paper relies on evidence from carefully conducted studies based on micro-data for countries in the region and for other countries with similar income levels to draw conclusions on the impact of labor market institutions and demographic factors on unemployment, informality, inequality and productivity. The decreases in unemployment and informality can be partly explained by the reduced strictness of EPL and payroll taxes, but also by the increased shares of more educated and older workers. By contrast, the fall in inequality starting in 2002 can be explained by a combination of binding MW throughout most of the region and, to a lesser extent, by the introduction of UI systems in some countries and the role of unions in countries with moderate unionization rates. Falling inequality can also be explained by the fall in the returns to skill associated with increased share of more educated and older workers.
The past two decades have seen a decline in labor's share of national income in several industrial countries. This paper analyzes the role of three factors in explaining movements in labor's share--factor-biased technological progress, openness to trade, and changes in employment protection--using a panel of 18 industrial countries over 1960-2000. Since most studies suggest that globalization and rapid technological progress (associated with accelerated information technology development) began in the mid-1980s, the sample is split in 1985 into preglobalization/pre-IT revolution and postglobalization/post-IT revolution eras. The results suggest that the decline in labor's share during the past few decades in the OECD member countries may have been largely an equilibrium, rather than a cyclical, phenomenon, as the distribution of national income between labor and capital adjusted to capital-augmenting technological progress and a more globalized world economy.
This paper studies net employment growth across 21 OECD economies in 1980-97, focusing on experiences within the European Union. It finds that sectoral effects can only partially account for differences in job creation. By contrast, it shows that a policy package including low taxation and flexible employment protection legislation is associated with high job creation and can account for most of the observed differences. The Netherlands’ success is largely accounted for by the creation of part-time jobs for women aged 25-49 in the services sector, but in most EU countries the substitution of part-time jobs for full-time jobs is considerable.
Over the past decade, the United States has been very successful atcreating jobs. Some other industrial countries have clearly lagged behind. But what is the reason why some countries are more successful than others at creating employment? Are there common factors that explainjob creation? This paper presents the findings of a new IMF study that has systematically analyzed job creation over the past two decades in theindustrial countries, focusing particularly on differences within Europe.
Over the past decade, the United States has been very successful at creating jobs. Some other industrial countries have clearly lagged behind. But what is the reason why some countries are more successful than others at creating employment? Are there common factors that explain job creation?