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The Demand for Workers and Hours and the Effects of Job Security Policies: Theory and Evidence

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  • Daniel S. Hamermesh

Abstract

There has been a wide variety of research on worker-hours substitution and the effects of various costs on the speed and extent to which labor demand adjusts. Much of this literature, though, confuses various types of fixed costs and fails to provide a guide for identifying how changes in labor-cost structures affect static relative demands for workers and hours and the paths by which they adjust. This study presents a typology of labor cost market policies in OECD countries are pigeonholed by their effects on labor costs are view of the evidence indicates clearly that there is some slight substitution between workers and hours along a constant effective-labor isoquant. The evidence is clear that employers adjust the demand for hours more rapidly than that for workers and that both adjust fairly rapidly. It also shows that a major effect of cost-increasing policies designed to induce substitution from hours to workers is a reduction in the total amount of worker-hours demanded. Original analysis demonstrates that lags in the adjustment of employment in response to changes in demand lengthened in most OECD countries during the 1970s.

Suggested Citation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1986. "The Demand for Workers and Hours and the Effects of Job Security Policies: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2056
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    1. Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-620, September.
    2. Michael Rothschild, 1971. "On the Cost of Adjustment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 85(4), pages 605-622.
    3. Crawford, Robert G., 1979. "Expectations and labor market adjustments," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 11(2-3), pages 207-232.
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    5. Nickell, S J, 1978. "Fixed Costs, Employment and Labour Demand over the Cycle," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 45(180), pages 329-345, November.
    6. Topel, Robert H, 1982. "Inventories, Layoffs, and the Short-Run Demand for Labor," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 769-787, September.
    7. Meese, Richard, 1980. "Dynamic factor demand schedules for labor and capital under rational expectations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 141-158, September.
    8. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 703-736.
    9. John T. Addison & Pedro Portugal, 1987. "The Effect of Advance Notification of Plant Closings on Unemployment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(1), pages 3-16, October.
    10. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1981. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 21-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Daniel S. Hamermesh, 1987. "The Costs of Worker Displacement," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 102(1), pages 51-75.
    12. Sargent, Thomas J, 1978. "Estimation of Dynamic Labor Demand Schedules under Rational Expectations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(6), pages 1009-1044, December.
    13. Olivia S. Mitchell, 1982. "Fringe Benefits and Labor Mobility," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(2), pages 286-298.
    14. Rossana, Robert J, 1985. "Buffer Stocks and Labor Demand: Further Evidence," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 67(1), pages 16-26, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas K. Bauer & Stefan Bender & Holger Bonin, 2007. "Dismissal Protection and Worker Flows in Small Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 804-821, November.
    2. Addison, John T. & Teixeira, Paulino, 1999. "Is Portugal really so arteriosclerotic? Results from a cross-country analysis of labor adjustment," ZEW Discussion Papers 99-30, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    3. Guillermo Mondino & Silvia Montoya, 2004. "The Effects of Labor Market Regulations on Employment Decisions by Firms. Empirical Evidence for Argentina," NBER Chapters,in: Law and Employment: Lessons from Latin America and the Caribbean, pages 351-400 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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