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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.