The Effect of Labor Market Competition on Firms, Workers, and Communities
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- Discussion papers (SAM) 
This paper isolates the impact of labor market competition on firms, workers, and communities. A shock to labor mobility from Sweden to Norway caused a substantial increase in labor competition for Swedish firms on the border with Norway. Using unique register data linked across the two countries, we show that Swedish firms respond by raising wages and reducing their workforces. The retained workers are of lower quality, resulting in a drop in value added and an increasing probability of market exit. Communities experience population flight, declining business activity, increased inequality, and increased support for worker protection parties. Norwegian firms benefit through cheaper labor costs, and there is evidence of Norwegian workers being displaced. The communities see increased support for anti-integration parties. We conclude that shocks to labor market competition, while benefiting certain workers, may have detrimental effects on local communities due to adverse effects on firm survival and business activity.