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Layoffs, Lemons, Race, and Gender

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  • Luojia Hu
  • Christopher Taber

Abstract

This paper expands on Gibbons and Katz (1991) by looking at how the difference in wage losses across plant closing and layoff varies with race and gender. We find that the differences between white males and the other groups are striking and complex. The lemons effect of layoff holds for white males as in Gibbons and Katz model, but not for the other three demographic groups (white females, black females, and black males). These three all experience a greater decline in earnings at plant closings than at layoffs. This results from two reinforcing effects. First, plant closings have substantially more negative effects on minorities than on whites. Second, layoffs seem to have more negative consequences for white men than the other groups. We also find that the relative wage losses of blacks following layoffs increased after the Civil Rights Act of 1991 which we take as suggestive of an informational effect of layoff as in Gibbons and Katz. The results are suggestive that the large losses that African Americans experience at plant closing could result from heterogeneity in taste discrimination across firms.

Suggested Citation

  • Luojia Hu & Christopher Taber, 2005. "Layoffs, Lemons, Race, and Gender," NBER Working Papers 11481, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11481
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, "undated". "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," IPR working papers 97-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
    2. Gibbons, Robert & Katz, Lawrence F, 1991. "Layoffs and Lemons," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 9(4), pages 351-380, October.
    3. Becker, Gary S., 1971. "The Economics of Discrimination," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 2, number 9780226041162.
    4. Lundberg, Shelly J & Startz, Richard, 1983. "Private Discrimination and Social Intervention in Competitive Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 73(3), pages 340-347, June.
    5. Altonji, Joseph G. & Blank, Rebecca M., 1999. "Race and gender in the labor market," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 48, pages 3143-3259 Elsevier.
    6. Phelps, Edmund S, 1972. "The Statistical Theory of Racism and Sexism," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(4), pages 659-661, September.
    7. Harry Krashinsky, 2002. "Evidence on Adverse Selection and Establishment Size in the Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(1), pages 84-96, October.
    8. Coate, Stephen & Loury, Glenn C, 1993. "Will Affirmative-Action Policies Eliminate Negative Stereotypes?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(5), pages 1220-1240, December.
    9. George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
    10. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heski Bar-Isaac & Ian Jewitt & Clare Leaver, 2007. "Information and Human Capital Managment," Working Papers 07-28, New York University, Leonard N. Stern School of Business, Department of Economics.
    2. Partha Deb & William T. Gallo & Padmaja Ayyagari & Jason M. Fletcher & Jody L. Sindelar, 2009. "Job Loss: Eat, drink and try to be merry?," NBER Working Papers 15122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Deb, Partha & Gallo, William T. & Ayyagari, Padmaja & Fletcher, Jason M. & Sindelar, Jody L., 2011. "The effect of job loss on overweight and drinking," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 317-327, March.
    4. Michèle A. Weynandt, 2014. "Selective Firing and Lemons," NRN working papers 2014-05, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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