EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States

Alan Krueger

No 638, Working Papers from Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section.

Abstract: In the last decade, state courts in many areas of the United States have ruled in favor of employees alleging they were improperly dismissed. Many economists have contended that any judicial or legislative departure from the employment-at-will doctrine is regressive and inefficient because it restricts employment flexibility and freedom of contract. This paper advances an evolutionary theory of unjust-dismissal legislation in which employer groups eventually support unjust-dismissal legislation in response to the threat of large and variable damage awards imposed by the judicial system. Legislation is sought to clearly define property rights and to limit employer liability. In comparison to the common law, the unjust-dismissal laws that have been proposed are likely to result in smaller awards, reduce uncertainty, resolve disputes rapidly, and reduce legal and other transactions costs. An institutional and empirical analysis supports the conclusion that the proposal of unjust-dismissal legislation is a response to court rulings that weaken and obfuscate the employers' right to dismiss employees at will. This evidence is inconsistent with the conventional political-economy view of unjust-dismissal legislation.

Keywords: unjust dismissal; firing; transaction costs (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: G39 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 1989-10
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (2) Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link)
https://dataspace.princeton.edu/jspui/bitstream/88435/dsp015t34sj57f/1/258.pdf

Related works:
Journal Article: The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States (1991) Downloads
Working Paper: The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States (1989) Downloads
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:pri:indrel:258

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers from Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Bobray Bordelon ().

 
Page updated 2020-02-16
Handle: RePEc:pri:indrel:258