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Labor Retrenchment Laws and their Effect on Wages and Employment: A Theoretical Investigation

  • Basu, Kaushik

    ()

    (World Bank)

  • Fields, Gary S.

    ()

    (Cornell University)

  • Debgupta, Shub

    ()

    (Corporate Executive Board)

Many countries have legislation which make it costly for firms to dismiss or retrench workers. In the case of India, the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, requires firms that employ 50 or more workers to pay a compensation to any worker who is to be retrenched. This paper builds a theoretical model to analyze the effects of such anti-retrenchment laws. Our model reveals that an anti-retrenchment law can cause wages and employment to rise or fall, depending on the parametric conditions prevailing in the market. We then use this simple model to isolate conditions under which an anti-retrenchment law raises wages and employment. In a subsequent section we assume that the law specifies exogenously the amount of compensation, s, a firm has to pay each worker who is being dismissed. It is then shown that as s rises, starting from zero, equilibrium wages fall. However beyond a certain point, further rises in s cause wages to rise. In other words, the relation between the exogenously specified cost to the firm of dismissing a worker and the equilibrium wage is V-shaped.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 2742.

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Length: 37 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2742
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  1. Basu, Kaushik, 2005. "Labor Laws and Labor Welfare in the Context of the Indian Experience," Working Papers 05-17, Cornell University, Center for Analytic Economics.
  2. Bardhan, Pranab K, 1983. "Labor-Tying in a Poor Agrarian Economy: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 501-14, August.
  3. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  4. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134, February.
  5. Rama, Martin, 1999. "Public Sector Downsizing: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, January.
  6. Fallon, Peter R & Lucas, Robert E B, 1991. "The Impact of Changes in Job Security Regulations in India and Zimbabwe," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 5(3), pages 395-413, September.
  7. Hopenhayn, Hugo & Rogerson, Richard, 1993. "Job Turnover and Policy Evaluation: A General Equilibrium Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(5), pages 915-38, October.
  8. Peter R. Fallon & Robert E. B. Lucas, 1989. "Job Security Regulations and the Dynamic Demand for Industrial Labor in India and Zimbabwe," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 2, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  9. Patricia M. Anderson & Bruce D. Meyer, 1994. "The Effects of Unemployment Insurance Taxes and Benefits on Layoffs Using Firm and Individual Data," NBER Working Papers 4960, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521771269 is not listed on IDEAS
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