Job Market Paper

"How valuable are business networks? Evidence from sales managers in international markets"

with Clémence Lenoir (INSEE)

Abstract: Expanding their customer base is crucial for firms to grow. This paper leverages workers’ job-to-job transitions to better understand how buyer-seller relationships form. We focus on one type of worker likely to build ties with buyers - sales managers - and one type of buyer - foreign partners. Combining unique French firm-to-firm trade data with matched employer-employee data, we carry out an event-study analysis that exploits the timing of sales managers’ transitions from one firm to another for identification. We find that recruiting a sales manager increases significantly the probability to start exporting to the buyers of her former firm. In particular, buyer-specific knowledge is five times more effective than country-product knowledge in forming new buyer-seller relationships. The expansion of the firm’s customer base comes at the expense of the buyer’s former suppliers, most notably the former employer. Yet, business stealing is only partial, and thus job-to-job transitions are not zero-sum.

Working papers

"Judge Bias in Labor Courts and Firm Performance "

with Pierre Cahuc (Sciences Po), Stéphane Carcillo (OECD) and Flavien Moreau (IMF)


Abstract: Does judge subjectivity influence firms performance? We study the economic consequences of judge decisions by collecting information on more than 145,000 Appeal court rulings, combined with administrative firm-level records covering the whole universe of French firms. The quasi-random assignment of judges to cases reveals that judge bias, defined as judge-specific differences on granting compensation, has statistically significant effects on the survival, employment, and sales of small firms, especially among very small and low-performing ones. When compensation for wrongful dismissal is instrumented by judge bias, an increase in compensation of 1 percent of the payroll reduces employment by 3 percent after 3 years for those firms.

"Large firms' collusion in the labor market: Evidence from collective bargaining"

with Antoine Valtat

Abstract: In several countries, including France, industry-level agreements are binding for all firms of the industry, whether they sit at the negotiating table or not. This paper provides a theoretical framework showing that such agreements can be used by dominant firms to reduce competition. In this framework, the higher the over-representation of large firms in employers federations, the larger the bargained wage floors, which entails in turn the eviction of small firms. This prediction is tested using French administrative data. We document the domination of large firms within federations and devise an instrumental strategy to causally show that the larger the bargaining firms relatively to the other firms of the industry - ie the lower the federation's representativeness, the higher their incentives to raise wage floors.