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Legal Default Rules: The Case of Wrongful Discharge Laws

  • MacLeod, W. Bentley

    ()

    (Columbia University)

  • Nakavachara, Voraprapa

    ()

    (University of Southern California)

One of the most vexing public policy issues is the extent to which governments should intervene into private contractual relationships. The purpose of this paper is to explore both theoretically and empirically the extent to which such interventions may enhance efficiency. In the case of employment law, economists have traditionally taken the view that intervention, such as protection against wrongful discharge, simply undoes the original intent of the parties to the agreement. We find that both the good faith and the implied contract exceptions to employment at will may enhance employment in occupations characterized by high levels of investment. These results suggest that under the appropriate conditions courts may enhance the operation of a competitive market by setting appropriate default remedies for breach of contract.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp1970.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1970.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2006
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Journal, 2007, 117 (521), F218-F278
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1970
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  7. Daron Acemoglu & Joshua D. Angrist, 2001. "Consequences of Employment Protection? The Case of the Americans with Disabilities Act," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(5), pages 915-957, October.
  8. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  9. Bentley MacLeod, 2001. "Optimal Contracting with Subjective Evaluation," Theory workshop papers 357966000000000036, UCLA Department of Economics.
  10. Max Schanzenbach, 2003. "Exceptions to Employment at Will: Raising Firing Costs or Enforcing Life-Cycle Contracts?," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 5(2), pages 470-504, August.
  11. Giuseppe Bertola, 2004. "A Pure Theory of Job Security and Labour Income Risk," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(1), pages 43-61, 01.
  12. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-23, April.
  13. 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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  15. David H. Autor, 2003. "Outsourcing at Will: The Contribution of Unjust Dismissal Doctrine to the Growth of Employment Outsourcing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(1), pages 1-42, January.
  16. James Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2003. "Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean," NBER Working Papers 10129, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
  18. Alan Krueger, 1989. "The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States," Working Papers 638, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  19. Christine Jolls & J.J. Prescott, 2004. "Disaggregating Employment Protection: The Case of Disability Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 10740, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Alan Schwartz & Robert Scott, . "Contract Theory and the Limits of Contract Law," Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy Working Paper Series yale_lepp-1011, Yale Law School John M. Olin Center for Studies in Law, Economics, and Public Policy.
  21. Olivier Blanchard & Jean Tirole, 2004. "The Optimal Design of Unemployment Insurance and Employment Protection. A First Pass," NBER Working Papers 10443, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  22. MacLeod, W Bentley & Malcomson, James M, 1993. "Investments, Holdup, and the Form of Market Contracts," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 811-37, September.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. Lazear, Edward P, 1990. "Job Security Provisions and Employment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(3), pages 699-726, August.
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