In a recent article, Howell et al (2007) econometrically examined the impact of these rigidity variables, or what they call Protective Labor Market Institutions (PLMIs), and concluded that: "while significant impacts for employment protection, benefit generosity, and union strength have been reported, the clear conclusion from our review of these studies is that the effects for the PLMIs is distinctly unrobust, with widely divergent coefficients and levels of significance." Indeed, in his published comments on the Howell et al. article, Jim Heckman (2007) argues that the authors "…are convincing in showing the fragility of the evidence on the role of labour market institutions in explaining the pattern of European unemployment, using standard econometric methodology." Freeman (2007) also finds the evidence for the impact of these institutional variables less than convincing "despite considerable effort, researchers have not pinned down the effects, if any, of institutions on other aggregate economic outcomes, such as unemployment and employment."
Monday, September 28, 2009
"The 'flexibility' explanation of unemployment is wrong." -- Bell and Blanchflower, "What Should Be Done about Rising Unemployment in the UK?" February 2009, page 15. To elaborate on that point: