Mr. Sakai Ando, Mr. Ravi Balakrishnan, Bertrand Gruss, Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Koralai Kirabaeva, Nir Klein, Ana Lariau, Lucy Qian Liu, Mr. Davide Malacrino, Mr. Haonan Qu, and Alexandra Solovyeva
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused by far the largest shock to European economies since World War II. Yet, astonishingly, the EU unemployment rate had already declined to its pre-crisis level by 2021Q3, and in some countries the labor force participation rate is at a record high. This paper documents that the widespread use of job retention schemes has played an essential role in mitigating the pandemic’s impact on labor markets and thereby facilitating the restart of European economies after the initial lockdowns.
Does labor court uncertainty and judge subjectivity influence firms’ performance? We study the economic consequences of judge decisions by collecting information on more than 145,000 Appeal court rulings, combined with administrative firm-level records covering the whole universe of French firms. The quasi-random assignment of judges to cases reveals that judge bias has statistically significant effects on the survival, employment, and sales of small low-performing firms. However, we find that the uncertainty associated with the actual dispersion of judge bias is small and has a non-significant impact on their average outcomes.
This Selected Issues paper examines the causes and potential remedies for structural unemployment in France. Structural unemployment in France has long been elevated, and appears to have edged up further since the crisis. This reflects both demand and supply factors, including: high labor taxes, wage stickiness, a growing skill gap, hysteresis effects from the crisis years, a lengthy period of elevated economic uncertainty, inactivity traps created by the unemployment and welfare benefit systems, and demographic factors that have pushed up the labor force. The cyclical recovery is projected to bring down the unemployment rate only slowly. Reducing labor tax wedges can increase both output and employment.
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