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Why Do Firms Offer 'Employment Protection'?


This paper derives optimal employment contracts when workers are risk-averse and there are employment and unemployment risks. Without income insurance, consumption rises during employment and falls during unemployment. Optimal employment contracts offer severance compensation and sometimes give notice before dismissal. Severance compensation smooths consumption during employment, and dismissal delays insure partially against the unemployment risk because of moral hazard. During the delay, consumption falls to give incentives to the worker to search for another job. No dismissal delays are optimal if exogenous unemployment compensation is sufficiently generous. Copyright (c) The London School of Economics and Political Science 2010.

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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 77 (2010)
Issue (Month): 308 (October)
Pages: 613-636

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:77:y:2010:i:308:p:613-636
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  1. Rasmus Lentz & Torben Tranas, 2005. "Job Search and Savings: Wealth Effects and Duration Dependence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(3), pages 467-490, July.
  2. Bertola, Giuseppe, 2002. "A Pure Theory of Job Security and Labour Income Risk," CEPR Discussion Papers 3430, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Hopenhayn, Hugo A & Nicolini, Juan Pablo, 1997. "Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(2), pages 412-38, April.
  4. Saint-Paul, Gilles, 1999. "The Political Economy of Employment Protection," CEPR Discussion Papers 2109, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Baily, Martin Neil, 1974. "Wages and Employment under Uncertain Demand," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(1), pages 37-50, January.
  6. Pissarides, Christopher A., 2001. "Employment protection," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 131-159, May.
  7. Ljungqvist, Lars & Sargent, Thomas J., 1997. "The European Unemployment Dilemma," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 178, Stockholm School of Economics.
  8. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
  9. 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.
  10. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Shavell, Steven & Weiss, Laurence, 1979. "The Optimal Payment of Unemployment Insurance Benefits over Time," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1347-62, December.
  12. Nickell, Stephen J, 1982. "The Determinants of Equilibrium Unemployment in Britain," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 92(367), pages 555-75, September.
  13. James Costain, 1997. "Unemployment insurance with endogenous search intensity and precautionary saving," Economics Working Papers 243, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  14. Gary D. Hansen & Ayse Imrohoroglu, 1990. "The Role of Unemployment Insurance in an Economy with Liquidity Constraints and Moral Hazard," UCLA Economics Working Papers 583, UCLA Department of Economics.
  15. Sampson, A A, 1978. "Optimal Redundancy Compensation," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45(3), pages 447-52, October.
  16. Azariadis, Costas, 1975. "Implicit Contracts and Underemployment Equilibria," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(6), pages 1183-1202, December.
  17. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
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