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Using linked employer-employee data to investigate the speed of adjustments in downsizing firms

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  • Kevin McKinney
  • Lars Vilhuber

Abstract

When firms are faced with a demand shock, adjustment can take many forms. Firms can adjust physical capital, human capital, or both. The speed of adjustment may differ as well: costs of adjustment, the type of shock, the legal and economic enviroment all matter. In this paper, we focus on firms that downsized between 1992 and 1997, but ultimately survive, and investigate how the human capital distribution within a firm influences the speed of adjustment, ceteris paribus. In other words, when do firms use mass layoffs instead of attrition to adjust the level of employment. We combine worker-level wage records and measures of human capital with firm-level characteristics of the production function, and use levels and changes in these variables to characterize the choice of adjustment method and speed. Firms are described/compared up to 9 years prior to death. We also consider how workers fare after leaving downsizing firms, and analyze if observed differences in post-separation outcomes of workers provide clues to the choice of adjustment speed.

Suggested Citation

  • Kevin McKinney & Lars Vilhuber, 2006. "Using linked employer-employee data to investigate the speed of adjustments in downsizing firms," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2006-03, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:tpaper:2006-03
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    File URL: https://www2.census.gov/ces/tp/tp-2006-03.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. John M. Abowd & Kevin L. McKinney & Lars Vilhuber, 2009. "The Link between Human Capital, Mass Layoffs, and Firm Deaths," NBER Chapters,in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 447-472 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Paul A. Lengermann & Lars Vilhuber, 2002. "Abandoning the Sinking Ship: The Composition of Worker Flows Prior to Displacement," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-11, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    10. Audra Bowlus & Lars Vilhuber, 2001. "Displaced Workers, Early Leavers, and Re-employment Wages," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20015, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
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    Cited by:

    1. Bruce C. Fallick & John Haltiwanger & Erika McEntarfer, 2012. "Job-to-job flows and the consequences of job separations," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2012-73, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Sebastien Lechevalier & Cyrille Dossougoin & Christophe Hurlin & Satoko Takaoka, 2014. "How did the Japanese Employment System Change?Investigating the Heterogeneity of Downsizing Practices across Firms," KIER Working Papers 883, Kyoto University, Institute of Economic Research.

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