This working paper is the sole responsibility of the author. It is circulated in order to stimulate debate and to encourage comments and criticism.The French labor market is divided between workers in permanent jobs and those who alternate fixed-term contracts with unemployment spells. Among other public policies aiming at reducing this duality, financial incentives could induce employers to lengthen contract duration or favor permanent contracts.This article develops a matching model fitted to the French labor-market characteristics and calibrated on French data. A gradual decrease in unemployment contributions or a firing tax reduces the duality but increases market rigidity and lowers labor productivity. However, decreasing unemployment contributions gradually is less favorable for new entrants than a firing tax and lengthens unemployment spells. An additional contribution levied on short-term contracts to finance a bonus for permanent-contract hirings also decreases labor-mar

This working paper is the sole responsibility of the author. It is circulated in order to stimulate debate and to encourage comments and criticism.

The French labor market is divided between workers in permanent jobs and those who alternate fixed-term contracts with unemployment spells. Among other public policies aiming at reducing this duality, financial incentives could induce employers to lengthen contract duration or favor permanent contracts.

This article develops a matching model fitted to the French labor-market characteristics and calibrated on French data. A gradual decrease in unemployment contributions or a firing tax reduces the duality but increases market rigidity and lowers labor productivity. However, decreasing unemployment contributions gradually is less favorable for new entrants than a firing tax and lengthens unemployment spells. An additional contribution levied on short-term contracts to finance a bonus for permanent-contract hirings also decreases labor-market duality and increases activity but without negative impacts on labormarket flexibility and productivity.