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The liberalisation of temporary contracts has led to a sizeable share of jobs covered by temporary contracts. This article proposes a matching model of unemployment in which temporary (fixed-term) and permanent (open-ended) jobs coexist in a long-run equilibrium. From the labour demand standpoint, the choice of the type of contract leads to a trade-off between an ex-ante speed of hiring and an ex-post flexible dismissal rate. Empirically, we test with Italian longitudinal data whether non-employment spells that lead to a temporary job are shorter on average. The empirical evidence strongly supports our theoretical prediction.