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Dilemmas Of Downsizing During the Great Recession : Crisis Strategies of European Employers

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  • van Dalen, H.P.

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

  • Henkens, K.

    (Tilburg University, Center For Economic Research)

Abstract

Summary The present paper analyzes the choices faced by European employers when threatened with the prospect of the mass lay-off of their employees as a result of the Great Recession. By means of a representative survey among employers in Italy, Germany, Denmark, Poland, the Netherlands and Sweden in 2009, we show that employers mainly prefer to tackle such threats by offering short-time work, and by early retirement packages to older workers, in conjunction with buy-outs. The latter preference is particularly visible in countries where employers perceive the level of employment protection to be high. The only notable exception is Denmark, where employers prefer to reduce working hours. In general, a sense of generational fairness influences downsizing preferences, with those employers who favor younger workers particularly likely to use early retirement and buy-outs when downsizing, followed by working time reductions. Wage reductions and administrative dismissal are less favored by European employers. In particular, CEOs and owners are more inclined than lower-level managers to cut wages.

Suggested Citation

  • van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2013. "Dilemmas Of Downsizing During the Great Recession : Crisis Strategies of European Employers," Discussion Paper 2013-026, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:tiu:tiucen:feb47efa-6785-4845-8a83-7b0e99e86fc7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Jan Svejnar & Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas van der Velde, 2015. "Productivity and Inequality Effects of Rapid Labor Reallocation – Insights from a Meta-Analysis of Studies on Transition," Working Papers 2015-11, Faculty of Economic Sciences, University of Warsaw.
    2. repec:kap:jbuset:v:149:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s10551-016-3069-y is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Joanna Tyrowicz & Lucas Velde & Jan Svejnar, 2017. "Effects Of Labor Reallocation On Productivity And Inequality—Insights From Studies On Transition," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(3), pages 712-732, July.
    4. Frank Erp & Niels Vermeer & Daniel Vuuren, 2014. "Non-financial Determinants of Retirement: A Literature Review," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(2), pages 167-191, June.
    5. van Dalen, H.P. & Henkens, K., 2015. "Why Demotion of Older Workers is a No-Go Area for Managers," Discussion Paper 2015-025, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    6. Jaap Oude Mulders & Hendrik Dalen & Kène Henkens & Joop Schippers, 2014. "How Likely are Employers to Rehire Older Workers After Mandatory Retirement? A Vignette Study Among Managers," De Economist, Springer, vol. 162(4), pages 415-431, December.
    7. Lundborg, Per & Skedinger, Per, 2014. "Employer Attitudes towards Refugee Immigrants," Working Paper Series 1025, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    downsizing; early retirement; fairness; older workers; recession;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J26 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Retirement; Retirement Policies

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