Via le blog de Dani Rodrik, je découvre un article (en) qui met à mal les matériaux empiriques à l'appui de cette thèse... Référence et résumé :
David R. Howell, Dean Baker, Andrew Glyn, John Schmitt, 2007, "Are Protective Labor Market Institutions at the Root of Unemployment? A Critical Review of the Evidence", Capitalism and Society, 2(1).
A rapidly expanding empirical literature has addressed the widely accepted claim that employment unfriendly labor market institutions explain the pattern of unemployment across countries. The main culprits are held to be protective institutions, namely unemployment benefit entitlements, employment protection laws, and trade unions. Our assessment of the evidence offers little support for this orthodox view. The most compelling finding of the cross-country regression literature is the generally significant and robust effect of the standard measure of unemployment benefit generosity, but there are reasons to doubt both the economic importance of this relationship and the direction of causation. The micro evidence on the effects of major changes in benefit generosity on the exit rate out of unemployment has been frequently cited as supportive evidence, but these individual level effects vary widely across studies and, in any case, have no direct implication for changes in the aggregate unemployment rate (due to “composition” and “entitlement” effects).
Finally, we find little evidence to suggest that 1990s reforms of core protective labor market institutions can explain much of either the success of the “success stories” or the continued high unemployment of the large continental European countries. We conclude that the evidence is consistent with a more complex reality in which a variety of labor market models can be consistent with good employment performance.
Policy makers are likely to make benefits more generous as the unemployment rate increased: in hard times, with a decline in employment or the rate of employment creation, taxpayers could reasonably want to give unemployed workers additional time and support to search for the right job, thereby improving the quality of the match between workers and jobs. More generous benefits would reduce the harmful effects of lost income on workers and their families and would help sustain aggregate demand during economic slowdowns. The social, psychological, and health-related costs of unemployment are well established (Korpi, 2002) and there can be little doubt that many workers would choose employment over the dole, no matter how generous (Gallie and Alm, 1997). It is, however, extremely hard to find any mention of even the possibility of this “policy endogeneity” in the unemployment-institutions literature.p. 45, ils se concentrent sur le cas de la France :
At least until the late 1990s, the unemployment and benefit trends for France appear to move roughly together, but it is clear that unemployment took off in the 1970s well before GRR began to edge up. Despite the promarket policy shift in the early 1980s, French unemployment rates continued to rise, and in response to political protests “the authorities expanded social spending to help protect workers from dislocation and to undercut resistance to measures of economic liberalization” (Levy 309; see also Blanchard, 2006). Consistent with this account, the figure shows a sharp rise in unemployment from 1975 to 1986 and an increase in benefit generosity that begins in 1980. This story is also consistent with the Granger results shown in Table 6 for France: all four lags show a significant relationship from unemployment to GRR and this is particularly strong for the first two years.