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This paper presents findings from analysis of a dataset of labour laws, based on the Centre for Business Research Labour Regulation Index (CBR-LRI), which has recently been extended to cover 117 countries and the period from 1970 to 2013. The dataset shows that laws regulating different forms of employment (DFE), including part-time work, fixed-term employment and agency work, have become significantly more protective over time, in particular since the late 1990s. Employment protection laws (EPL), covering individual dismissal, collective consultation and codetermination rights, have become steadily more protective since the 1970s. Europe has seen a decline in the level of EPL since the onset of the sovereign debt crisis in 2008, but this trend is small, on average, by comparison to earlier increases in protection beginning in the 1970s, and has not been replicated in other regions. Time-series econometric analysis using non-stationary panel data methods suggests that strengthening worker protection in relation to DFE and EPL is associated with an increase in labour’s share of national income, rising labour force participation, rising employment, and falling unemployment, although the observed magnitudes are small when set against wider economic trends.


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