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Boarding a Sinking Ship? An Investigation of Job Applications to Distressed Firms

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  • Jennifer Brown
  • David A. Matsa

Abstract

We use novel data from a leading online job search platform to examine the impact of corporate distress on firms’ ability to attract job applicants. Survey responses suggest that job seekers accurately perceive firms’ financial condition, as measured by companies’ credit default swap prices and accounting data. Analyzing responses to job postings by major financial firms during the Great Recession, we find that an increase in an employer’s distress results in fewer and lower quality applicants. These effects are particularly evident when the social safety net provides workers with weak protection against unemployment and for positions requiring a college education.

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  • Jennifer Brown & David A. Matsa, 2012. "Boarding a Sinking Ship? An Investigation of Job Applications to Distressed Firms," NBER Working Papers 18208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18208
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    Cited by:

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    2. Alison E. Weingarden, 2017. "Employment Dynamics in a Signaling Model with Workers' Incentives," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-040, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    3. Frankel, David M., 2017. "Efficient ex-ante stabilization of firms," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 170(C), pages 112-144.
    4. Caggese, Andrea & Cuñat, Vicente & Metzger, Daniel, 2019. "Firing the wrong workers: Financing constraints and labor misallocation," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(3), pages 589-607.
    5. Schulz, Ann-Christine & Johann, Sarah, 2018. "Downsizing and the fragility of corporate reputation: An analysis of the impact of contextual factors," Scandinavian Journal of Management, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 40-50.
    6. Gupta, Kartick & Krishnamurti, Chandrasekhar, 2018. "Does corporate social responsibility engagement benefit distressed firms? The role of moral and exchange capital," Pacific-Basin Finance Journal, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 249-262.
    7. He, Chuan & Mau, Karsten & Xu, Mingzhi, 2021. "Trade Shocks and Firms Hiring Decisions: Evidence from Vacancy Postings of Chinese Firms in the Trade War," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(C).
    8. He, Zhaozhao, 2018. "Money held for moving stars: Talent competition and corporate cash holdings," Journal of Corporate Finance, Elsevier, vol. 51(C), pages 210-234.
    9. Kim, Hyunseob, 2020. "How does labor market size affect firm capital structure? Evidence from large plant openings," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(1), pages 277-294.
    10. Antoni, Manfred & Maug, Ernst & Obernberger, Stefan, 2019. "Private equity and human capital risk," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 133(3), pages 634-657.
    11. Sinha, Rajesh Kumar, 2021. "Macro disagreement and analyst forecast properties," Journal of Contemporary Accounting and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(1).
    12. Marshall, Ben R. & Nguyen, Justin Hung & Nguyen, Nhut H. & Visaltanachoti, Nuttawat, 2021. "Does a change in the information environment affect labor adjustment costs?," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 74(C).
    13. Brown, Jennifer & Matsa, David A., 2020. "Locked in by leverage: Job search during the housing crisis," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 136(3), pages 623-648.
    14. R. Jason Faberman & Marianna Kudlyak, 2016. "What Does Online Job Search Tell Us about the Labor Market?," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue 1, pages 1-15.
    15. Vega-Gutierrez, Pedro Luis & López-Iturriaga, Félix J. & Rodriguez-Sanz, Juan Antonio, 2021. "Labour market conditions and the corporate financing decision: A European analysis," Research in International Business and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 58(C).
    16. Popov, Alexander & Rocholl, Jörg, 2018. "Do credit shocks affect labor demand? Evidence for employment and wages during the financial crisis," Journal of Financial Intermediation, Elsevier, vol. 36(C), pages 16-27.
    17. Viluma, Laura, 2020. "Do Cesarean Delivery rates rise when the economy declines? A test of the economic stress hypothesis," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 36(C).
    18. Focacci, Chiara Natalie & Santarelli, Enrico, 2021. "Job Training, Remote Working, and Self-Employment: Displaced Workers Beyond Employment Hysteresis," GLO Discussion Paper Series 780, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    19. Benjamin U. Friedrich & Michal Zator, 2018. "Adaptation to Shocks and The Role of Capital Structure: Danish Exporters During the Cartoon Crisis," Economics Working Papers 2018-12, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • G20 - Financial Economics - - Financial Institutions and Services - - - General
    • G32 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Financing Policy; Financial Risk and Risk Management; Capital and Ownership Structure; Value of Firms; Goodwill
    • G33 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance - - - Bankruptcy; Liquidation
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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