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The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States

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  • Alan B. Krueger

Abstract

In the past decade, many state courts have ruled in favor of employees alleging they were improperly dismissed. The author of this paper advances an evolutionary theory of unjust-dismissal legislation in which employer groups, responding to the threat of large and variable damage awards imposed by the judicial system, eventually support unjust-dismissal legislation in order to clearly define property rights, reduce uncertainty, and limit employer liability. Based on evidence from a case study of legislation enacted in Montana and an empirical analysis of the determinants of proposed unjust-dismissal legislation in a panel of states, the author concludes that proposals of unjust-dismissal legislation are a response to court rulings that weaken and obfuscate the employer's right to dismiss employees at will.

Suggested Citation

  • Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(4), pages 644-660, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:ilrrev:v:44:y:1991:i:4:p:644-660
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    Cited by:

    1. Peter Kuhn, "undated". "Canada and the "OECD Hypothesis": Does Labour Market Inflexibility Explain Canada's High Level of Unemployment?," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 10, McMaster University.
    2. Susan N. Houseman, 2001. "Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 149-170, October.
    3. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448.
    4. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
    5. Andrew Weiss & Ruqu Wang, 1990. "A Sorting Model of Labor Contracts: Implications for Layoffs and Wage-Tenure Profiles," NBER Working Papers 3448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. David H. Autor, 2000. "Outsourcing at Will: Unjust Dismissal Doctrine and the Growth of Temporary Help Employment," JCPR Working Papers 153, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    7. Rebitzer, James B & Robinson, Michael D, 1991. "Employer Size and Dual Labor Markets," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 73(4), pages 710-715, November.
    8. Adriana Kugler, 1999. "The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 6(3), pages 389-410, August.
    9. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2006. "The Costs of Wrongful-Discharge Laws," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 211-231, May.
    10. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "The Growth of Temporary Services Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
    11. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2291-2372 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Wang, Ruqu & Weiss, Andrew, 1998. "Probation, layoffs, and wage-tenure profiles: A sorting explanation," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(3), pages 359-383, September.
    13. Ichino, Andrea & Muehlheusser, Gerd, 2008. "How often should you open the door?: Optimal monitoring to screen heterogeneous agents," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 67(3-4), pages 820-831, September.
    14. Kyota Eguchi, 2000. "Employment Protection Regulations and New Hiring," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-88, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
    15. Jaap H. Abbring & Gerard J. van den Berg & Pieter A. Gautier & A. Gijsbert C. van Lomwel & Jan C. van Ours & Christopher J. Ruhm, 1998. "Displaced Workers in the United States and the Netherlands," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-084/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    16. Addison, John T., 2006. "Politico-Economic Causes of Labor Regulation in the United States: Rent Seeking, Alliances, Raising Rivals' Costs (Even Lowering One's Own?), and Interjurisdictional Competition," IZA Discussion Papers 2381, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Adriana D. Kugler, 2004. "The Effect of Job Security Regulations on Labor Market Flexibility. Evidence from the Colombian Labor Market Reform," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 183-228 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "Work Incentives and the Demand for Primary and Contingent Labor," NBER Working Papers 3647, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. MacLeod, W. Bentley & Nakavachara, Voraprapa, 2006. "Legal Default Rules: The Case of Wrongful Discharge Laws," IZA Discussion Papers 1970, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    20. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint Paul, 2000. "Hiring and firing costs, adverse selection and long-term unemployment," Economics Working Papers 447, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    21. Ioana Marinescu, 2009. "Job Security Legislation and Job Duration: Evidence from the United Kingdom," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 465-486, July.

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    JEL classification:

    • G39 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Other

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