DP1438 | Understanding Labour Market Institutions: A Political Economy Perspective


Publication Date


JEL Code(s)


Programme Area(s)



In this paper we argue that many of the rigidities that characterize European labour markets can be understood as the outcome of political influence by incumbent employees. We then empirically investigate the determinants of labour market institutions and show that the results are consistent with this view. Among other things, we find: that higher exposure of the employed to unemployment facilitates a reduction in the level of employment protection; that unemployment benefits are lower, the more employment reacts to wages; and that a higher level of unemployment and a right-wing government slow down the growth rate of the minimum wage.