2nd IZA World of Labor/OECD Seminar on Protecting Workers or Protecting Jobs: The Political Economy of Employment Protection Reforms

Organizers: Alessio J. G. Brown (IZA), Stefano Scarpetta (OECD and IZA)
Location:OECD, Paris, France
Date:October 05, 2015

Event Manager:

Viola Hartmann
Time: 11:00 - 12:30

Location: OECD Conference Center, 2 rue André Pascal, Paris, France, Conference Room: CC7


Daniel Navia, General Director on Financial, Macroeconomic and Labour Policies in the Economic Office of the President of the Government, Spain
Claudia Serrano Madrid, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Chile to the OECD
Pedro S. Martins , Professor of Applied Economics at Queen Mary, University of London and IZA
Alexander S. Kritikos, Managing Editor IZA World of Labor, Professor of Economics at University of Potsdam and DIW Berlin

Moderation: Stefano Scarpetta , Director for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD and IZA
Over the past few years, a number of, mainly European, countries have undertaken in depth reforms of their employment protection legislation. While the timing and characteristics of these reforms varies from one country to another, they generally shared the common objective to reduce the gap in employment protection across contracts – in particular between open-ended and atypical contracts – clarify conditions for termination of a contract for economic reason and reduce the dismissal costs.
Reaping the full benefits of these reforms will take time. In most cases they will materialize gradually through hiring, firm entry and productivity growth. At the same time, they may generate short-term costs in terms of job losses as firms adapt their workforce in a still uncertain economic context. The balance between these potential effects remains an empirical issue, and yet the empirical evidence on the short-run consequences of structural reforms remains limited. Moreover, the fact that certain structural reforms might entail short-run costs raises the question whether they should be implemented during a recession or should be postponed until better times.
The timing of reforms also raises political economy considerations as to whether it becomes easier or harder to carry out a reform depending on the state of the economy. Yet, there is even less empirical evidence on the interaction of these reforms with the business cycle.
This seminar will review country experience and evidence on implementing employment protection reforms, with a specific focus on the political economy of the reform process. It will also address the issues on how their initial effects were assessed and communicated as well as whether complementary policy measures were envisaged to limit the possible short-run effects on the workers affected by the enhanced mobility.

The OECD / IZA World of Labor Seminar Series

A series of OECD and IZA World of Labor seminars debate the evidence of topical labor market issues and the resulting implications for policy making. The panel discussions aim to provide a professional and independent platform for evidence-based discussion and debate among academic experts, OECD representatives and policymakers.

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