IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this book chapter

Great Expectations: Law, Employment Contracts, and Labor Market Performance

Listed author(s):
  • MacLeod, W. Bentley

This chapter reviews the literature on employment and labor law. The goal of the review is to understand why every jurisdiction in the world has extensive employment law, particularly employment protection law, while most economic analysis of the law suggests that less employment protection would enhance welfare. The review has three parts. The first part discusses the structure of the common law and the evolution of employment protection law. The second part discusses the economic theory of contract. Finally, the empirical literature on employment and labor law is reviewed. I conclude that many aspects of employment law are consistent with the economic theory of contract--namely, that contracts are written and enforced to enhance ex ante match efficiency in the presence of asymmetric information and relationship specific investments. In contrast, empirical labor market research focuses upon ex post match efficiency in the face of an exogenous productivity shock. Hence, in order to understand the form and structure of existing employment law we need better empirical tools to assess the ex ante benefits of employment contracts.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B7P5V-52GXSSD-C/2/837f22fe24166e0731b3869b44217ec8
Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

as
in new window

This chapter was published in:
  • O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), 2011. "Handbook of Labor Economics," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 4, number 5.
  • This item is provided by Elsevier in its series Handbook of Labor Economics with number 5-18.
    Handle: RePEc:eee:labchp:5-18
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/wps/find/bookseriesdescription.cws_home/BS_HE/description

    References listed on IDEAS
    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

    as
    in new window


    1. Carmen Pagés & Claudio E. Montenegro, 2007. "Job security and the age-composition of employment: evidence from Chile," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(2 Year 20), pages 109-139, December.
    2. Patrick Bolton & Mathias Dewatripont, 2005. "Contract Theory," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262025760, January.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2006. "Wage Bargaining with On-the-Job Search: Theory and Evidence," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 74(2), pages 323-364, 03.
    4. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitability enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 333-371, December.
    5. repec:pri:cepsud:182lee is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Miles, Thomas J, 2000. "Common Law Exceptions to Employment at Will and U.S. Labor Markets," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 74-101, April.
    7. David S. Lee & Alexandre Mas, 2012. "Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961--1999," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(1), pages 333-378.
    8. Olivier J. Blanchard & Jean Tirole, 2008. "The Joint Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection: A First Pass," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(1), pages 45-77, 03.
    9. Isaac Ehrlich & Richard A. Posner, 1974. "An Economic Analysis of Legal Rulemaking," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 257-286, January.
    10. Juan C. Botero & Simeon Djankov & Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-de-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 2004. "The Regulation of Labor," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(4), pages 1339-1382.
    11. David Card & Francesco Devicienti & Agata Maida, 2014. "Rent-sharing, Holdup, and Wages: Evidence from Matched Panel Data," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(1), pages 84-111.
    12. Stähler, Nikolai, 2008. "Firing costs, severance payments, judicial mistakes and unemployment," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(6), pages 1162-1178, December.
    13. 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.
    14. Lorne Carmichael & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2003. "Caring About Sunk Costs: A Behavioral Solution to Holdup Problems with Small Stakes," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 106-118, April.
    15. Alan B. Krueger & Alexandre Mas, 2004. "Strikes, Scabs, and Tread Separations: Labor Strife and the Production of Defective Bridgestone/Firestone Tires," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(2), pages 253-289, April.
    16. David S. Lee & Alexandre Mas, 2009. "Long-Run Impacts of Unions on Firms: New Evidence from Financial Markets, 1961-1999," Working Papers 1117, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    17. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
    18. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
    19. Eberhard Feess & Gerd Mühlheußer, 2002. "Economic Consequences of Transfer Fee Regulations in European Football," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 221-237, May.
    20. 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).
    21. Hart, Oliver, 1995. "Firms, Contracts, and Financial Structure," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198288817.
    22. Daniel Sullivan & Till von Wachter, 2009. "Job Displacement and Mortality: An Analysis Using Administrative Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(3), pages 1265-1306.
    23. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2005. "The consequences of labor market flexibility: Panel evidence based on survey data," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 49(5), pages 1225-1259, July.
    24. William B. Gould IV, 2004. "A Primer on American Labor Law, 4th Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262572184, January.
    25. Wouter Dessein, 2002. "Authority and Communication in Organizations," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 811-838.
    26. Laing, D., 1990. "Involuntary Layoffs in a Model with Asymmetry Information Concerning Worker Ability," Papers 12-90-4, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
    27. Eslava, Marcela & Haltiwanger, John & Kugler, Adriana & Kugler, Maurice, 2004. "The effects of structural reforms on productivity and profitabality enhancing reallocation: evidence from Colombia," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 0408, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
    28. Kahn, Lawrence M., 2010. "Employment protection reforms, employment and the incidence of temporary jobs in Europe: 1996-2001," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 1-15, January.
    29. David H. Autor & John J. Donohue & Stewart J. Schwab, 2004. "The Employment Consequences of Wrongful-Discharge Laws: Large, Small, or None at All?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 440-446, May.
    30. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-688, August.
    31. Henry S. Farber & Bruce Western, 2001. "Accounting for the Decline of Unions in the Private Sector, 1973-1998 ," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(3), pages 459-485, July.
    32. Cochrane, John H, 1991. "A Simple Test of Consumption Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(5), pages 957-976, October.
    33. Craig A. Olson & Brian E. Becker, 1990. "The Effects of the NLRA on Stockholder Wealth in the 1930s," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 44(1), pages 116-129, October.
    34. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2009. "The Effect of Teachers' Unions on Education Production: Evidence from Union Election Certifications in Three Midwestern States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(4), pages 525-587, October.
    35. Michael Pries & Richard Rogerson, 2005. "Hiring Policies, Labor Market Institutions, and Labor Market Flows," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(4), pages 811-839, August.
    36. William N. Cooke, 1994. "Employee Participation Programs, Group-Based Incentives, and Company Performance: A Union-Nonunion Comparison," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 594-609, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

    When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:labchp:5-18. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu)

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

    If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.