Did American Welfare Capitalists Breach their Implicit Contracts? Preliminary Findings from Company-level Data, 1920-1940
AbstractIt has been claimed that American employers' experiments in private welfare capitalism collapsed during the Great Depression and were subsequently replaced by the welfare state and industrial unionism. However, recent studies reveal considerable differences among firms, adding complex nuances to a simple story of discontinuation. Characterizing private welfare capitalism as a set of personnel practices that constituted an implicit contract equilibrium, this paper compiles data of fourteen manufacturing firms and tests the implications of implicit contract theory. It finds that the repudiation of implicit contracts was positively correlated with the severity of the depression experienced by a firm and negatively correlated with the effectiveness of internal enforcement mechanisms. It also shows that a firm with more repudiation experienced greater change in labor-management relations under the New Deal regime. A comparative case study complements the findings by providing quantitative evidence.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9868.
Date of creation: Jul 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Moriguchi, Chiaki. "Implicit Contracts, The Great Depression, And Institutional Change: A Comparative Analysis Of U.S. And Japanese Employment Relations, 1920-1940," Journal of Economic History, 2003, v63(3,Sep), 625-665.
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Find related papers by JEL classification:
- N32 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
- N82 - Economic History - - Micro-Business History - - - U.S.; Canada: 1913-
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2003-07-29 (All new papers)
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