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Layoffs and Lemons

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  • Gibbons, Robert
  • Katz, Lawrence F

Abstract

The authors provide theoretical and empirical analyses of an asymmetric-information model of layoffs. When firms have discretion with respect to whom to lay off, the market infers that laid-off workers are of low ability. Assuming that no such negative inference is warranted if workers are displaced in a plant closing, postdisplacement wages should be lower and postdisplacement unemployment spells should be longer for those displaced by layoffs than for those displaced by plant closings, but predisplacement wages should not differ by cause of displacement. Evidence on displaced workers from Current Population Surveys supports all three of the model's predictions. Copyright 1991 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F, 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 351-380, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:9:y:1991:i:4:p:351-80
    DOI: 10.1086/298273
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 236-260, April.
    2. Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F, 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 351-380, October.
    3. Paul Milgrom & Sharon Oster, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-476.
    4. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
    5. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    8. McLaughlin, Kenneth J, 1991. "A Theory of Quits and Layoffs with Efficient Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 1-29, February.
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    19. Douglas L. Kruse, 1988. "International Trade and the Labor Market Experience of Displaced Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 402-417, April.
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    21. Kletzer, L., 1988. "Returns To Seniority After Permanent Job Loss," Department of Economics Working Papers 129, Department of Economics, Williams College.
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    JEL classification:

    • G2 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services
    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General

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