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Are Seniority Privileges Unfair?


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    What should maximin egalitarians think about seniority privileges? We contrast a good-specific and an all-things-considered perspective. As to the former, inertia and erasing effects of a seniority-based allocation of benefits from employment are identified, allowing us to spot the categories of workers and job-seekers made involuntarily worse off by such a practice. What matters however is to find out whether abolishing seniority privileges will bring about a society in which the all-things-considered worst off people are better off than in the seniority rule s presence. An assessment of the latter s cost-reduction potential is thus needed, enabling us to bridge a practice taking place within a firm with its impact on who the least well off members of society are likely to be. Three accounts of the profitability of seniority privileges are discussed: the (firm specific) human capital , the deferred compensation and the knowledge transfer ones. The respective relevance of good-specific and all-things-considered analysis is discussed. It turns out that under certain circumstances, a maximin egalitarian case for seniority privileges could be made.Senior: Do you know that they are planning layoffs? Of course, it is only fair that they lay-off the newcomers first! After all, I have been loyal to the company for many years.Junior: Did I choose to be a newcomer?

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    Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal Economics and Philosophy.

    Volume (Year): 20 (2004)
    Issue (Month): 02 (October)
    Pages: 279-305

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    Handle: RePEc:cup:ecnphi:v:20:y:2004:i:02:p:279-305_00

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    Cited by:
    1. Geert Demuijnck, 2009. "From an Implicit Christian Corporate Culture to a Structured Conception of Corporate Ethical Responsibility in a Retail Company: A Case-Study in Hermeneutic Ethics," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 84(3), pages 387-404, February.


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