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Labour Market Regulation and Youth Unemployment in the EU-28

Giorgio Liotti ()
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Giorgio Liotti: University of Naples Federico II

Italian Economic Journal: A Continuation of Rivista Italiana degli Economisti and Giornale degli Economisti, 2022, vol. 8, issue 1, No 4, 77-103

Abstract: Abstract The rise of youth unemployment has been one of the most serious problems which policymakers have had to deal with over the last two decades. Neoclassical economic theory suggests that the deregulation (i.e. higher flexibility) of the labour market stimulates firms to hire young people and—therefore—reduces youth unemployment. The aim of this study is to empirically test the validity of this hypothesis, analysing data on youth unemployment and labour market regulation index (LMRI) for 28 European countries in the period between 2000 and 2018. The empirical results—using two different econometric techniques (time and fixed effects that allows to take into account the presence of heterogeneity of countries in the model and pooling mean group (PMG) estimator providing results about the short and long run relationship between LMRI and youth unemployment)—do not provide evidence in support of the neoclassical hypothesis. In particular, the effect of higher flexibility of the labour market is negative and statistically significant (at 1%) only when a dummy variable for the Eastern country group is included in the model. Vice-versa, the paper shows that higher economic growth and higher investment in active labour market policy represent the key variables to reduce the youth unemployment. In conclusion, the paper raises many doubts that the introduction of flexibility measures in itself can represent a useful tool to counteract the increase of youth unemployment in Europe.

Keywords: Youth unemployment; Flexibility; European countries; Panel data model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J40 J64 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1007/s40797-021-00154-3

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