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This paper constructs a theory of the coexistence of fixed-term and permanent employment contracts in an environment with ex ante identical workers and employers. Workers under fixed-term contracts can be dismissed at no cost while permanent employees enjoy labor protection. In a labor market characterized by search and matching frictions, firms find it optimal to discriminate by offering some workers a fixed-term contract while offering other workers a permanent contract. Match-specific quality between a worker and a firm determines the type of contract offered. The authors analytically characterize the firms' hiring and firing rules. Using matched employer-employee data from Canada, they estimate the wage equations from the model.
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