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Layoffs and Lemons

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  • Robert Gibbons
  • Lawrence Katz

Abstract

In this paper we provide theoretical and empirical analyses of an asymmetric-information model of layoffs in which the current employer is better informed about its workers' abilities than prospective employers are. The key feature of the model is that when firms have discretion with respect to whom to lay off, the market infers that laid-off workers are of low ability. Since no such negative inference should be attached o workers displaced in a plant closing, our model predicts that the postdisplacement wages of otherwise observationally equivalent workers will be higher for those displaced by plant closings than for those displaced by layoffs. An extension of our model predicts that the average postdisplacement unemployment spell of otherwise observationally equivalent workers will be shorter for those displaced by plant closings than for those displaced by layoffs. In our empirical work, we use data from the Displaced Workers Supplements in the January 1984 and 1986 Current Population Surveys. We find that the evidence (with respect to both re-employment wages and postdisplacement unemployment duration) is consistent with the idea that laid off workers are viewed less favorably by the market than are those losing jobs in plant closings. Our findings are much stronger for workers laid off from jobs where employers have discretion over whom to lay off.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 2968.

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Date of creation: Dec 1991
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2968

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  1. Milgrom, Paul & Oster, Sharon, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-76, August.
  2. Andrew Caplin & Barry Nalebuff, 1990. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 938, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  3. Riordan, Michael H & Staiger, Robert W, 1993. "Sectoral Shocks and Structural Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 611-29, August.
  4. Kletzer, L., 1988. "Returns To Seniority After Permanent Job Loss," Department of Economics Working Papers 129, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  5. Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Raids and Offermatching," NBER Working Papers 1419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  7. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," NBER Working Papers 2968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  9. Katz, Lawrence F & Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, and Unemployment Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 973-1002, November.
  10. Greenwald, Bruce C, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 325-47, July.
  11. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-55, December.
  13. Douglas L. Kruse, 1988. "International trade and the labor market experience of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 402-417, April.
  14. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
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  1. Will Today's Unemployed Become Tommorow's Unemployable?
    by Catherine Rampell in Economix on 2010-12-02 15:34:00
  2. [??]???????????????????????
    by himaginary in himaginaryの日記 on 2010-12-15 08:00:00
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