Labor's liquidity service and firing costs
This paper studies the specific effect that firing costs can have on firms facing liquidity constraints. When firing costs are zero and a time gap exists between production and its associated revenues, firing allows firms to hold on to their liquid assets by saving on wages, and thus, allows firms to cope better with liquidity shocks when external financing is too costly or unavailable. I refer to this feature as labor's liquidity service. Higher firing costs reduces the value of labor's liquidity service, and thus, increases firms' incentive for hoarding liquidity and reduces firms' demand for production inputs. In addition to this negative effect at the creation margin of production, firing costs have a relatively higher positive effect on the destruction margin of production of financially restricted firms. This paper presents a model that develops these ideas and shows that the presence of firing costs has a stronger negative effect on the output of firms facing liquidity constraints. Regression analysis, based on country-industry panel data sets, provides empirical evidence consistent with the liquidity service effect of firing costs. I find a relatively stronger negative effect of firing costs on the output of industries with higher liquidity requirements and a relatively stronger negative effect of firing costs on the output of small, and more likely financially constrained, firms.
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