Insuring Displaced Workers: Human Capital Losses and Severance Pay Design
AbstractDisplaced workers, especially long tenured workers, face large human capital losses. Private firms frequently offer insurance against this threat in the form of severance pay – scheduled benefits linked in expectation to the worker’s human capital loss. We explore this linkage, first reviewing common severance benefit algorithms and then comparing them with simple models of capitalized job displacement losses on data from the Displaced Worker Surveys of 2000 and of 2004. The standard benefit formula of one week’s pay per year of service offers payments roughly in proportion to expected capital losses, but with a proportionality factor of only one quarter of capitalized losses (at 9 percent). Despite the systematic relationship between tenure/age and displacement losses, these factors explain little of the total variation in displacement losses, raising obvious insurance efficiency concerns. Cross-sectional estimates from more complete models, however, uncover no admissible factors currently neglected in standard severance contracts, although the jump in earnings losses between displacements in the robust market of 1997-1999 and the difficult labor market of 2000-2003 does suggest conditioning benefits on market conditions.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2238.
Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2006
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, and Vacancies - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
- J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
- J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2006-08-12 (All new papers)
- NEP-BEC-2006-08-12 (Business Economics)
- NEP-HRM-2006-08-12 (Human Capital & Human Resource Management)
- NEP-IAS-2006-08-12 (Insurance Economics)
- NEP-LAB-2006-08-12 (Labour Economics)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Bruce C. Fallick, 1996.
"A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers,"
Industrial and Labor Relations Review,
ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
- Bruce C. Fallick, 1995. "A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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