IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The effects of firing costs on the wage contracts under adverse selection


  • Anne Bucher
  • Sébastien Ménard


We develop a two-period principal-agent model to investigate the effects of firing costs on self-selection mechanisms and on the optimal wage contracts under adverse selection. There are two types of risk-averse workers who differ by their ability. The worker’s ability is private information but revealed once engaged in production. The adverse selection problem may be solve by workers’ selection from a menu of separating contracts that specifies a sequence of wages with dismissal being the only form of punishment to a worker who overstated his ability. We find that as firing costs increase, the wage-tenure profile of high-ability workers gets steeper while the information rent left to low-ability workers vanishes. For higher levels of firing costs, an incentive menu of contracts provides the most able workers with a lower starting wage than the less able workers. As the expected profit from separating contracts decreases with dismissal costs, there exists a threshold above which the employer prefers to offer a pooling wage that might drive good workers out of the labor market.

Suggested Citation

  • Anne Bucher & Sébastien Ménard, 2015. "The effects of firing costs on the wage contracts under adverse selection," Working Papers of BETA 2015-17, Bureau d'Economie Théorique et Appliquée, UDS, Strasbourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2015-17

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hagedorn, Marcus & Kaul, Ashok & Mennel, Tim, 2010. "An adverse selection model of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 490-502, March.
    2. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
    3. Bassanini, Andrea & Garnero, Andrea, 2013. "Dismissal protection and worker flows in OECD countries: Evidence from cross-country/cross-industry data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 25-41.
    4. Oyer, Paul & Schaefer, Scott, 2005. "Why do some firms give stock options to all employees?: An empirical examination of alternative theories," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 99-133, April.
    5. Samuel Bentolila & Giuseppe Bertola, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402.
    6. Lisa B. Kahn, 2013. "Asymmetric Information between Employers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(4), pages 165-205, October.
    7. Adriana D. Kugler & Gilles Saint-Paul, 2004. "How Do Firing Costs Affect Worker Flows in a World with Adverse Selection?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(3), pages 553-584, July.
    8. Blien, Uwe & Messmann, Susanne & Trappmann, Mark, 2012. "Do reservation wages react to regional unemployment?," IAB Discussion Paper 201222, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    9. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 315-333.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Adverse Selection; Principal Agent; Labor Contracts; Wage; Firing Costs.;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J08 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - Labor Economics Policies

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ulp:sbbeta:2015-17. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.