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Adverse Selection, Short-Term Contracting, and the Underprovision of On-the-Job Training

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  • Hermalin Benjamin E.

    () (UC Berkeley)

Abstract

This article argues that the existence of adverse selection (worker heterogeneity) can explain the underprovision of general training by employers. High-ability workers value the option to entertain outside wage offers once their abilty becomes known to the market. Offering short-term contracts is, therefore, a way to screen high-ability types from low-ability types. A firm is not willing to train workers under short-term contracts. Hence, despite the positive returns to training, training may be underprovided in equilibrium. More generally, this article contributes to the literature that seeks to explain the puzzling phenomenon of short-term contracts governing long-term buyer-seller relationships.

Suggested Citation

  • Hermalin Benjamin E., 2002. "Adverse Selection, Short-Term Contracting, and the Underprovision of On-the-Job Training," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-21, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:bejeap:v:contributions.1:y:2002:i:1:n:5
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2000. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0021, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    2. Costello, Anna M., 2013. "Mitigating incentive conflicts in inter-firm relationships: Evidence from long-term supply contracts," Journal of Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 19-39.
    3. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2003. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 197-227, April.
    4. Antonio Nicolo' & Piero Tedeschi, 2004. "Missing Contracts: On the Rationality of not Signing a Prenuptial Agreement," Game Theory and Information 0406001, EconWPA.
    5. Fredrik Andersson, 2002. "Technological Change,Labour Contracts and Income Distribution," Finnish Economic Papers, Finnish Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 24-35, Spring.
    6. Comino, Stefano & Nicolò, Antonio & Tedeschi, Piero, 2010. "Termination clauses in partnerships," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(5), pages 718-732, July.
    7. Anand, Smriti & Hasan, Iftekhar & Sharma, Priyanka & Wang, Haizhi, 2017. "Enforceability of non-complete agreements : When does state stifle productivity?," Research Discussion Papers 24/2017, Bank of Finland.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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