Employment Protection Legislation and labour market dualism: France, Italy, Portugal and Spain, from 1975 to nowadays

In this paper, I review the evolution of Employment Protection Legislation (EPL) strictness over time, for regular and temporary contracts, and the many reforms that have affected open-ended and atypical employment contracts since the late 1970s in France, Italy, Portugal and Spain. For this purpose, I use the OECD indicators of EPL strictness, the Fondazione Rodolfo DeBenedetti-IZA Social Reforms Database and the EU-LABREF. This historical perspective on EPL attempts to clarify which measures led to a segmented labour market. I then briefly review the recent labour market reforms and compare the current legislation affecting both permanent and fixed-term contracts in the four countries considered. At last, I explore the different proposals for future reforms that have been discussed amongst academics and policy makers alike.