Stockholm School of Economics
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|November 2012||Wrongful Discharge Laws and Innovation|
with Viral V. Acharya, Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian: w18516
We show that wrongful discharge laws - laws that protect employees against unjust dismissal - spur innovation and new firm creation. Wrongful discharge laws, particularly those that prohibit employers from acting in bad faith ex post, limit employers' ability to hold up innovating employees after the innovation is successful. By reducing the possibility of hold-up, these laws enhance employees' innovative efforts and encourage firms to invest in risky, but potentially mould-breaking, projects. We develop a model and provide supporting empirical evidence of this effect using the staggered adoption of wrongful discharge laws across the U.S. states.
Published: Viral V. Acharya & Ramin P. Baghai & Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian, 2014. "Wrongful Discharge Laws and Innovation," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 27(1), pages 301-346, January. citation courtesy of
|October 2010||Labor Laws and Innovation|
with Viral V. Acharya, Krishnamurthy V. Subramanian: w16484
Stringent labor laws can provide firms a commitment device to not punish short-run failures and thereby spur their employees to pursue value-enhancing innovative activities. Using patents and citations as proxies for innovation, we identify this effect by exploiting the time-series variation generated by staggered country-level changes in dismissal laws. We find that within a country, innovation and economic growth are fostered by stringent laws governing dismissal of employees, especially in the more innovation-intensive sectors. Firm-level tests within the United States that exploit a discontinuity generated by the passage of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act confirm the cross-country evidence.
Published: “Labor Laws and Innovation” with Ramin Baghai and Krishnamurthy Subramanian, Journal of Law and Economics , 2013, 56, 997-1037.