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Title: Essays in labour regulation
Author: Sánchez, Rafael
ISNI:       0000 0004 2739 9410
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis consists of three empirical essays within the field of labour economics. As a whole, it explores the (un)intended consequences of labour regulation, with each chapter providing an independent analytical contribution to a specific aspect of the field. Chapter 1 analyzes the effect of a reduction in standard working hours on employment tran- sitions. In this chapter, I study Chile's reduction of weekly working hours from 48 to 45, which was announced in 2001 but implemented in 2005. This policy was innovative, compared with those in other countries, because it isolated the reduction in working hours from other policy changes, such as working time flexibility and financial incentives to firms. Thus, this policy is an interesting example for other countries to study, especially those without the scale capacity to provide such incentives, as it allows them to identify its effects on employment. Our results, which are confirmed by several robustness checks, suggest that despite the pre-announcement of the policy, firms displayed non-anticipatory behaviour on key variables. Furthermore, we find that firms waited to implement the reduction in working hours until just before the deadline. Overall, we find that a reduction in standard hours had no significant effects on employment transitions, although we do find a significant e¤ect on hourly wages (i.e., wage compensation). Chapter 2 extends the analysis of Chapter 1 to health outcomes. This is important, as the health effects of reductions in working hours have not been addressed by the existing literature; instead, most of the empirical evidence concerns employment outcomes, family life balance, and social networks. Using panel data from France and Portugal, this chapter exploits the exogenous variation of working hours coming from labour regulation and estimates its impact on health outcomes. In this way, our contribution to the existing literature is threefold: first, this is the first evaluation of health outcomes of policies that reduce working hours. Second, we avoid the problem of endogeneity with health outcomes by using exogenous reductions of working hours. Third, as the effects on health might depend on the level of working hours, our analysis is performed for two different countries with differing weekly hour thresholds (France, 35 hours; Portugal, 40 hours). Our results suggest a non-monotonic relationship between weekly working hours and health outcomes. In particular, a negative (positive) effect is found for young men (women) in France, and no e¤ect is found in Portugal. Chapter 3 (coauthored by Eugenio Rojas and Mauricio Villena) examines childcare policies and analyzes who effectively pays for childcare when it is not publicly funded. This is interesting, since in several countries governments provide and fund childcare, but in many others it is privately funded, as labour regulation mandates that firms have to provide childcare services. For this latter case, there is no empirical evidence on the effects generated by the financial burden of childcare provision. In particular, there is no evidence about who effectively pays for childcare (i.e., firms or employees) and how it is paid for (i.e., via wages and/or employment). Our study is the first one to provide empirical evidence on the effects generated by the finan- cial burden of childcare provision. For this, we exploit a Chilean labour regulation requiring that firms with 20 or more female workers provide and fund childcare for their workers. Our hypothesis is that, in imperfect labour markets (e.g., oligopsonistic), firms will pass childcare costs on to their workers. To analyze this, we exploit a discontinuity in the childcare provision mandated by the Chilean Labour Code. Our results suggest that firms pass almost the entire childcare cost (nearly 90%) on to their workers via lower wages (not only to female but also to male workers) and not by altering the share of male workers within the firm.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor