hero working papers

Regulation and Labour Market Performance

Number: 158
Year: 1999
Author(s): Tito Boeri (Bocconi University, IGIER and CEPR), Giuseppe Nicoletti (OECD) and Stefano Scarpetta (OECD)

The increasing literature on the interactions between liberalisation-integration of product markets and labour market reforms is often highly speculative and draws on a rather weak empirical basis. Cross-country indicators of regulatory frameworks are often lacking, making it difficult to identify the linkages with observed outcomes in the labour and product markets. Moreover, empirical studies have often focused exclusively on the impact of certain labour market regulations, largely ignoring the role of product market regulations and the interactions between regulatory interventions in the two markets. As a result, while there are convincing theoretical arguments pointing to a potentially positive effect of product market liberalisation on labour market performance, empirical investigations of this issue are lacking. This paper aims at providing some preliminary evidence on these issues. In particular, the cross-country patterns and changing profile of product and labour market regulations are identified. Evidence on the relationships between product and labour market regulations is discussed in the context of other policies and institutional factors affecting the labour market; and the clustering and convergence of institutions across countries are characterised. More importantly, the paper reports evidence of a potentially significant impact of product and labour market regulations on employment and its composition. The evidence presented draws heavily on a novel set of cross-country indicators of regulation in the product and labour markets assembled at the OECD. It should be stressed at the outset that these indicators are preliminary estimates and should be taken only as rough approximations of the regulatory stance across OECD countries.