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The changing relationship between job loss announcements and stock prices: 1970-1999

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  • Farber, Henry S.
  • Hallock, Kevin F.

Abstract

We study the reaction of stock prices to announcements of reductions in force (RIFs) using a sample of 4273 such announcements in 1160 large firms during the 1970-99 period collected from the Wall Street Journal. We note that the total number of actual announcements for the firms in our sample follows the business cycle quite closely. We then examine changes over time in standard summary statistics (means, medians, fraction positive) of the distribution of stock market reactions, measured by the cumulative excess returns (CER) of firms' stock prices over a 3-day event window centered on the announcement date, as well as changes over time in kernel density estimates of this distribution. We find clear evidence that the distribution of stock market reactions shifted to the right (became less negative) over time. One possible explanation for this change is that, over the last three decades, RIFs designed to improve efficiency have become more common relative to RIFs designed to cope with reductions in product demand. We estimate multivariate regression models of the CER controlling for the stated reason for the announced layoff, industry, and other characteristics of the announced layoff. We find that almost none of the decline in the negative average stock price reaction between the 1970s and 1990s can be explained by these factors.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 16 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-11

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:16:y:2009:i:1:p:1-11

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

Related research

Keywords: Layoffs Job loss Event studies;

References

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  1. Brown, Stephen J. & Warner, Jerold B., 1985. "Using daily stock returns : The case of event studies," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-31, March.
  2. Fama, Eugene F, et al, 1969. "The Adjustment of Stock Prices to New Information," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 10(1), pages 1-21, February.
  3. John M. Abowd & George T. Milkovich & John M. Hannon, 1989. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Decisions on Shareholder Value," NBER Working Papers 3148, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Blackwell, David W. & Marr, M. Wayne & Spivey, Michael F., 1990. "Plant-closing decisions and the market value of the firm," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 277-288, August.
  5. Hallock, Kevin F, 1998. "Layoffs, Top Executive Pay, and Firm Performance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 711-23, September.
  6. Dial, Jay & Murphy, Kevin J., 1995. "Incentives, downsizing, and value creation at General Dynamics," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(3), pages 261-314, March.
  7. A. Craig MacKinlay, 1997. "Event Studies in Economics and Finance," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(1), pages 13-39, March.
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Cited by:
  1. Reich, Michael, 2012. "Unemployment after the Great Recession: Why so High? What Can We Do?/El desempleo después de la Gran Recesión: ¿Por qué tan alto? ¿Qué podemos hacer?," Estudios de Economía Aplicada, Estudios de Economía Aplicada, vol. 30, pages 11-28, Abril.

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