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Wrongful Discharge Laws and Innovation

Author

Listed:
  • Viral V. Acharya
  • Ramin P. Baghai
  • Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian

Abstract

We show that wrongful discharge laws - laws that protect employees against unjust dismissal - spur innovation and new firm creation. Wrongful discharge laws, particularly those that prohibit employers from acting in bad faith ex post, limit employers' ability to hold up innovating employees after the innovation is successful. By reducing the possibility of hold-up, these laws enhance employees' innovative efforts and encourage firms to invest in risky, but potentially mould-breaking, projects. We develop a model and provide supporting empirical evidence of this effect using the staggered adoption of wrongful discharge laws across the U.S. states.

Suggested Citation

  • Viral V. Acharya & Ramin P. Baghai & Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian, 2012. "Wrongful Discharge Laws and Innovation," NBER Working Papers 18516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18516
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    JEL classification:

    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance
    • J5 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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