Seniority-based layoffs as an incentive device
This paper provides a simple economic rationale for two elements that often appear - implicitly or explicitly - in firms' personnel policies. When firms reduce their labor input they often (i) lay off a few individuals rather than adjust work hours, and (ii) make retention decisions on the basis of seniority. We show that in a stochastic environment, a seniority-based layoff policy can have the effect of making the job valuable to a worker over most of her career. This provides work-life incentives using a mechanism similar to Lazear's well known model of upward-sloping wage profiles. Firms reduce their workforce by adjusting employment rather than work hours because layoffs are an integral part the incentive scheme.
|Date of creation:||1998|
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2548, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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edition 1, volume 1, number 0262121883, March.
- John C. Ham, 1986. "Testing whether Unemployment Represents Intertemporal Labour Supply Behaviour," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(4), pages 559-578.
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