NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Two-Sided Learning, Labor Turnover and Displacement

Gerard A. Pfann, Daniel S. Hamermesh

NBER Working Paper No. 8273
Issued in May 2001
NBER Program(s):   LS

We construct a general dynamic structural model of two-sided learning between a firm and its workers. We estimate an empirical version of the model using personnel data from Fokker Aircraft that cover the path of layoffs and quits through its bankruptcy. We find that the firm learns about its workers' loyalty (demonstrating the role of information in repeated cooperative principal-agent relationships). There is no evidence that workers learn (consistent with earlier empirical results on American workers). The type of data that we use also generates information on the value of learning and on whether and how the characteristics of workers who remain until the firm's death differ from those of all affected workers. It thus allows us to measure the increases in the firm's value from learning about its workers' behavior and to infer the extent of biases in estimated losses from displacement from samples restricted to displaced workers.

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Published: Pfann, Gerard A. and Daniel S. Hamermesh. “Two-Sided Learning, with Applications to Labor Turnover and Worker Displacement.” Jahrbücher für Nationalökonomie und Statistik (December 2008).

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