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Optimal Severance Pay in a Matching Model

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Abstract

This paper uses an equilibrium matching framework to study jointly the optimal private provision of severance pay and the allocational and welfare consequences of government intervention in excess of private arrangements. Firms insure risk-averse workers by means of simple explicit employment contracts. Contracts can be renegotiated ex post by mutual consent. It is shown that the privately optimal severance payment is bounded below by the fall in lifetime wealth associated with job loss. Simulations show that, despite contract incompleteness, legislated dismissal costs largely in excess of such private optimum are effectively undone by renegotiation and have only a small allocational effect. Welfare falls. Yet, for deviations from laissez faire in line with those observed for most OECD countries, the welfare loss is small.

Suggested Citation

  • Giulio Fella, 2007. "Optimal Severance Pay in a Matching Model," Working Papers 598, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp598
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2010. "On-The-Job Search, Productivity Shocks, And The Individual Earnings Process," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 599-629, August.
    2. Federico Cingano & Marco Leonardi & Julián Messina & Giovanni Pica, 2009. "The effect of employment protection legislation and financial market imperfections on investment: Evidence from a firm-level panel of EU countries," Working Papers 0914, Banco de España;Working Papers Homepage.
    3. Flórez, Luz A., 2017. "Informal sector under saving: A positive analysis of labour market policies," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 13-26.
    4. Dennis Wesselbaum, 2014. "Firing tax vs severance payments – an unequal comparison," Journal of Economic Studies, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 41(5), pages 721-736, September.
    5. Alain Delacroix & Etienne Wasmer, 2009. "Layoff Costs and Efficiency with Asymmetric Information," Working Papers hal-00972915, HAL.
    6. Luz Adriana Flórez, 2014. "Optimal Policy with Informal Sector and Endogenous Savings," Borradores de Economia 833, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. Michau, Jean-Baptiste, 2015. "Optimal labor market policy with search frictions and risk-averse workers," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 93-107.
    8. Usui, Emiko, 2007. "Severance payments in equilibrium unemployment," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 94(3), pages 342-347, March.
    9. Saltari, Enrico & Tilli, Riccardo, 2009. "The role and significance of endogenous firing costs in a matching model with endogenous job destruction," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 799-808, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Severance pay; Contracts; Renegotiation;

    JEL classification:

    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J65 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment Insurance; Severance Pay; Plant Closings

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