Le rôle de la demande de travail dans le faible emploi des travailleurs âgés en France : Politiques publiques et pratiques des entreprises

Abstract : The low employment rates of older workers (aged 50 and above) in France are directly related to the widesprehd use of state-subsidized early retirement schemes. These schemes may in turn be a response tb a low demand for older workers. We investigate the connection between labour demand and public policies along three dimensions: the Delalande tax (a firing cost for workers aged 50 and above), implicit long-term contracts and technical and organisational change. A theoretical model predicts a positive effect of the Delalande tax on the employment of older workers. However, the empirical analysis shows a smaller labour hoarding effect than predicted. This result points toward other factors that may reduce the demand for older workers. The early departure of older workers from the labour force may help relieve the pressure on the implicit long-te 1m contracts which bind firms and workers. Facing shocks, firms would rather incite older workers t leave even if they must provide significant compensation: these departures allow the firm to adj st its labour force without a breach of contract. Under some circumstances, state subsidies will b necessary to enable the firms to fulfil their promises - this provides an economic rationale for state subsidies to early retirement schemes. We provide preliminary evidence consistent with this mechanism: prime-age workers with sufficient seniority in the firm appear to be protected against lay-offs by the departure of older workers. Older worl ers may also suffer from technical and organisational change. We find evidence that older worl ers with less favourable characteristics leave firms undergoing such modernisation. However, modern and modernized firms provide more training to all their workers, including older ones. These re ults tend to show that technical and organisational change affects older workers directly rather than through a comparative disadvantage with regard to training. Alternatively, they are consis ent with the view that firms render changes acceptable in two ways: by getting rid of reluctant older workers (through early departure schemes) and by training the others.
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Luc Behaghel. Le rôle de la demande de travail dans le faible emploi des travailleurs âgés en France : Politiques publiques et pratiques des entreprises. Economies et finances. UMLV Université de Marne-La-Vallée, 2004. Français. ⟨tel-01263886⟩

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