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Layoffs and Lemons

  • Gibbons, Robert
  • Katz, Lawrence F.

We 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 our model's predictions.

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File URL: http://dash.harvard.edu/bitstream/handle/1/3442782/Katz_LayoffsLemons.pdf
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Paper provided by Harvard University Department of Economics in its series Scholarly Articles with number 3442782.

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Date of creation: 1991
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Labor Economics
Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:3442782
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  1. Caplin, A. & Nalebuff, B., 1989. "Aggregation And Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Discussion Papers 1989_31, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  2. Kletzer, L., 1988. "Returns To Seniority After Permanent Job Loss," Department of Economics Working Papers 129, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  3. Riordan, Michael H & Staiger, Robert W, 1993. "Sectoral Shocks and Structural Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 611-29, August.
  4. Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F., 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," Scholarly Articles 3442782, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  5. Heckman, James, 2013. "Sample selection bias as a specification error," Applied Econometrics, Publishing House "SINERGIA PRESS", vol. 31(3), pages 129-137.
  6. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 236-260, April.
  7. Greenwald, Bruce C, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 325-47, July.
  8. Milgrom, Paul & Oster, Sharon, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-76, August.
  9. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1984. "Length of service and layoffs in union and nonunion work groups," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 87-97, October.
  10. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  11. Douglas L. Kruse, 1988. "International trade and the labor market experience of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 402-417, April.
  12. Katz, Lawrence F & Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, and Unemployment Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 973-1002, November.
  13. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-55, December.
  14. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Raids and Offermatching," NBER Working Papers 1419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
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