Do Labor Market Flexibility and Efficiency Increase Government Social Protection Expenditures?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the relationship between labour market flexibility and efficiency and social protection expenditures. Building on the theories of government expenditures and the empirical literature on the determinants of social protection, the article examines empirically the relationship between flexible labour market and social protection expenditures. The empirical model explains social protection mainly in terms of the demand and supply of social protection, modernization theory and political institutions, namely democracy. Labour market flexibility and efficiency indicators include hiring and firing policies, labour-employer cooperation, wage determination flexibility, redundancy costs, linking pay to productivity, reliance on professional management, and the ratio of women in the labour force. We use a sample of 44 developed and emerging economies for the period 2007–2014 and adopt instrumental variables and two-step generalized method of moments estimation methodologies to account for endogeneity. Estimates show that linking pay to productivity, wage flexibility, and redundancy costs reduce social protection expenditures, while the ease of hiring and firing increases them. The article draws attention to the positive impact that flexible and efficient labour markets and organization-level human-resource policies have on reducing social protection expenditures and increasing fiscal space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3871-3887
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Economics
Issue number33
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • H53
  • hiring and firing
  • J28
  • J38
  • J58
  • labour market flexibility
  • performance pay
  • Social protection
  • wage flexibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Economics and Econometrics


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