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Mandated Severance Pay and Firing Cost Distortions: A Critical Review of the Evidence

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  • Parsons, Donald O.

    (George Washington University)

Abstract

Severance pay mandates are an appealing job displacement insurance strategy in developing countries, which have only modest government administrative capacities, but they carry the threat of adverse indirect effects. A critical review of the empirical literature reveals that severance benefit mandates, unaccompanied by other labor regulations, have little apparent impact on labor market behaviors. Indeed many severance mandates in the industrialized world do not greatly exceed those provided voluntarily in larger firms in the U.S. Benefit mandates in the developing world are sometimes more extravagant, and the absence of substantial effects may result from limited enforcement. Broader economic regulations do appear to have substantial, adverse effects on the labor market, but it is important not to equate these with simple severance insurance plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Parsons, Donald O., 2011. "Mandated Severance Pay and Firing Cost Distortions: A Critical Review of the Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 5776, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp5776
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    1. Holzmann, Robert & Pouget, Yann & Vodopivec, Milan & Weber, Michael, 2011. "Severance pay programs around the world : history, rationale, status, and reforms," Social Protection Discussion Papers and Notes 62726, The World Bank.
    2. Parsons, Donald O., 2011. "Double-Sided Moral Hazard in Job Displacement Insurance Contracts," IZA Discussion Papers 6003, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    separation rate; hiring costs; firing costs; severance pay; employment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings
    • J33 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Compensation Packages; Payment Methods

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