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Layoffs and Lemons

  • Robert Gibbons
  • Lawrence Katz

We provide theoretical and empirical analyses of an asymmetric-information model of layoffs. When firms have discretion with respect to whom to lay off, the market infers that laid-off workers are of low ability. Assuming that no such negative inference is warranted if workers are displaced in a plant closing, postdisplacement wages should be lower and postdisplacement unemployment spells should be longer for those displaced by layoffs than for those displaced by plant closings, but predisplacement wages should not differ by cause of displacement. Evidence on displaced workers from Current Population Surveys supports all three of our model's predictions.

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File URL: http://arks.princeton.edu/ark:/88435/dsp01bg257f06q
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Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. in its series Working Papers with number 629.

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Date of creation: Apr 1989
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Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:dsp01bg257f06q
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  1. Katz, Lawrence F & Meyer, Bruce D, 1990. "Unemployment Insurance, Recall Expectations, and Unemployment Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(4), pages 973-1002, November.
  2. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  3. Caplin, Andrew & Nalebuff, Barry, 1991. "Aggregation and Social Choice: A Mean Voter Theorem," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 59(1), pages 1-23, January.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  5. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1989. "Layoffs and Lemons," NBER Working Papers 2968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Oster, Sharon, 1987. "Job Discrimination, Market Forces, and the Invisibility Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 102(3), pages 453-76, August.
  7. Greenwald, Bruce C, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 325-47, July.
  8. Kletzer, L., 1988. "Returns To Seniority After Permanent Job Loss," Department of Economics Working Papers 129, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  9. Michael H. Riordan & Robert W. Staiger, 1988. "Sectoral Shocks and Structural Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 2522, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1984. "Length of service and layoffs in union and nonunion work groups," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(1), pages 87-97, October.
  11. Heckman, James J, 1979. "Sample Selection Bias as a Specification Error," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(1), pages 153-61, January.
  12. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Layoffs, Recall and the Duration of Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1825, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Douglas L. Kruse, 1988. "International trade and the labor market experience of displaced workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(3), pages 402-417, April.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 1984. "Raids and Offermatching," NBER Working Papers 1419, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1991. "Perfect Bayesian equilibrium and sequential equilibrium," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 53(2), pages 236-260, April.
  16. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-55, December.
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