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Hiring and firing costs, adverse selection and long-term unemployment

  • Adriana D. Kugler
  • Gilles Saint Paul

In this paper, we present a matching model with adverse selection that explains why flows into and out of unemployment are much lower in Europe compared to North America, while employment-to-employment flows are similar in the two continents. In the model,firms use discretion in terms of whom to fire and, thus, low quality workers are more likely to be dismissed than high quality workers. Moreover, as hiring and firing costs increase, firms find it more costly to hire a bad worker and, thus, they prefer to hire out of the pool of employed job seekers rather than out of the pool of the unemployed, who are more likely to turn out to be 'lemons'. We use microdata for Spain and the U.S. and find that the ratio of the job finding probability of the unemployed to the job finding probability of employed job seekers was smaller in Spain than in the U.S. Furthermore, using U.S. data, we find that the discrimination of the unemployed increased over the 1980's in those states that raised firing costs by introducing exceptions to the employment-at-will doctrine.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra in its series Economics Working Papers with number 447.

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Date of creation: Feb 2000
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Handle: RePEc:upf:upfgen:447
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.econ.upf.edu/

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  19. Bentolila, Samuel & Bertola, Giuseppe, 1990. "Firing Costs and Labour Demand: How Bad Is Eurosclerosis?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 57(3), pages 381-402, July.
  20. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  21. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen, 1988. "Job Switching and Job Satisfaction in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 19(2), pages 495-594.
  22. Burda, Michael C & Wyplosz, Charles, 1993. "Gross Worker and Job Flows in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 868, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. Fernando Alvarez & Marcelo Veracierto, 1999. "Labor market policies in an equilibrium search model," Working Paper Series WP-99-10, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  24. Anderson, Patricia M, 1993. "Linear Adjustment Costs and Seasonal Labor Demand: Evidence from Retail Trade Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(4), pages 1015-42, November.
  25. Dennis J. Aigner & Glen G. Cain, 1977. "Statistical theories of discrimination in labor markets," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 30(2), pages 175-187, January.
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  27. Hamermesh, D.S. & Hassink, W.H.J. & van Ours, J.C., 1996. "Job turnover and labor turnover : A taxonomy of employment dynamics," Other publications TiSEM 1f3fab1f-b02a-485a-bb8f-f, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  28. Akerlof, George A, 1970. "The Market for 'Lemons': Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(3), pages 488-500, August.
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