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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.

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Paper provided by Middlebury College, Department of Economics in its series Middlebury College Working Paper Series with number 0223.

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Length: 47 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mdl:mdlpap:0223
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  1. Jullien, B. & Picard, P., 1993. "A Classical Model of Involuntary Unemployment: Efficiency Wages and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 9305, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  2. 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.
  3. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  4. 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.
  5. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  8. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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