Product Market Deregulation and Labor Market Outcomes
We consider the dynamic relationship between product market entry regulation and equilibrium unemployment. The main theoretical contribution is combining a Mortensen-Pissarides model with monopolistic competition in the goods market and individual wage bargaining. Product market competition affects unemployment via two channels: the output expansion effect and a countervailing effect due to a hiring externality. Competition is then linked to barriers to entry. A calibrated model compares a high-regulation European regime to a low-regulation Anglo-American one. Our quantitative analysis suggests that under individual bargaining, no more than half a percentage point of European unemployment rates can be attributed to entry regulation.
Product market competition, barriers to entry, wage bargaining, European Unemployment Puzzle
Recently, the interactions between product market structure and labor market outcomes have come under increased scrutiny. This paper considers the dynamic relationship between product market regulation and equilibrium unemployment and wages, both theoretically and quantitatively. The main elements of our model are Mortensen-Pissarides-style search and matching frictions, monopolistic competition in the goods market, multi-worker firms and barriers to entry. Our measure of competition has a strong impact on equilibrium unemployment rates and on equilibrium wages, indicating that product market competition does indeed have quantitatively significant effects on labor market outcomes. Most of the impact is achieved by moving from a monopoly to four to five competing firms per industry. Hence, a little bit of competition goes a long way. Competition is then linked to a specific regulatory institution, namely barriers to entry. Data on entry costs are used to compare labor market performance under two regimes: a high-regulation European regime and a low-regulation Anglo-American one. When firms are short-lived, greater European product market regulation can account for unemployment rates that are one to two full percent points greater that the corresponding Anglo-American values.
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