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The Paradox of Labor Discipline With Heterogenous Workers


  • Peter Matthews



The introduction of “effort inducible” and “no effort: workers into a standard labor discipline model results in a paradox of sorts: if firms/capitalists cannot tell the difference, the predictable reductions in both output and workers compensation lead to an increase in profits. The resolution is found in the difference in expected productivities of workers woth and without contracts, which creates a reputation effect. When the relative proportions of workers are made variable – the consequence of the acquisition and depreciation of productive skills, and a source of positive feedback – the model exhibits multiple equlibria for plausible parameter values.

Suggested Citation

  • Peter Matthews, 2002. "The Paradox of Labor Discipline With Heterogenous Workers," Middlebury College Working Paper Series 0223, Middlebury College, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0223

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. William A. Darity & Arthur H. Goldsmith, 1996. "Social Psychology, Unemployment and Macroeconomics," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 10(1), pages 121-140, Winter.
    2. Jullien, Bruno & Picard, Pierre, 1998. "A Classical Model of Involuntary Unemployment: Efficiency Wages and Macroeconomic Policy," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 78(2), pages 263-285, February.
    3. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
    4. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-324, March.
    5. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-283, June.
    6. Stiglitz, Joseph E & Weiss, Andrew, 1981. "Credit Rationing in Markets with Imperfect Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 393-410, June.
    7. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    8. Topel, Robert, 1990. "Specific capital and unemployment: Measuring the costs and consequences of job loss," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 181-214, January.
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    JEL classification:

    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity

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