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The Welfare Cost of Business Cycles in an Economy with Nonclearing Markets

Elena Casquel and Antoni Cunyat ()

No 2005-19, Working Papers from FEDEA

Abstract: This paper analyzes thes dynamics of temporary jobs in a labor market characterized by worker's skill heterogeneity and employment protection. We construct a theoretical labor market that incorporates skill differences across workers in order to identify under which conditions temporary contracts are a way for workers to access to permanent contracts (stepping stone effect) or they are dead-end jobs without any good prospect (trap effect). We use longitudinal survey data of individuals to estimate competing risks model with multi-spells for Spain. To deal with selectivity, the model incorporates correlated unobserved determinants in the tranansition rates. Our results show the existence of two opposite dynamics of temporary contracts for skilled and unskilled workers: whereas for skilled workers temporary contracts serve as a stepping stone, unskilled workers seem to experiment a penalty, that is, they get "stuck" in temporary contracts. More importantly, controlling for unobserved heterogeneity is quite important in order to obtain clear estimates.

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