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An examination of firms' employment costs

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The existence of quasi-fixed costs of work may affect firms' desired employee hours and number of workers, which has important implications for the estimation of labour supply parameters. Firm-level data from the 1982 Employment Opportunity Pilot Project is used to estimate the importance to firms of employee quasi-fixed costs related to searching, hiring, training, and firing. Specifically, this paper examines how these costs affect number of workers and hours per worker, turnover, and vacancies, to the extent that the costs are determined by the firm's presumably exogenous industrial classification. An attempt is made to control for biases due to employee heterogeneity as well. Results show that higher costs are associated with lower turnover, fewer vacancies, and longer hours as predicted by a model of labour demand.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., PO Box 2393, Princeton, NJ 08543-2393, USA

Publication date: May 10, 2006

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