Labor market institutions

Next spring, in my political economy course, I want to cover some major public policy areas: education, health, pensions, poverty-alleviation, taxation, energy, trade and competition policy, and obviously, labor regulation. This would be a nice reading assignment:
 
Labor Market Institutions Around the World
Richard B. Freeman
NBER Working Paper No. 13242, July 2007

The paper documents the large cross-country differences in labor institutions that make them a candidate
explanatory factor for the divergent economic performance of countries and reviews what economists
have learned about the effects of these institutions on economic outcomes. It identifies three ways
in which institutions affect economic performance: by altering incentives, by facilitating efficient bargaining,
and by increasing information, communication, and trust. The evidence shows that labor institutions
reduce the dispersion of earnings and income inequality, which alters incentives, but finds equivocal
effects on other aggregate outcomes, such as employment and unemployment. Given weaknesses
in the cross-country data on which most studies focus, the paper argues for increased use of micro-data,
simulations, and experiments to illuminate how labor institutions operate and affect outcomes.

 
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