DP4031 | Job Protection Laws and Agency Problems Under Asymmetric Information

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23/12/2004

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Abstract

Under symmetric information, a job protection law that says that a principal who has hired an agent today must also employ them tomorrow can only reduce the two parties? total surplus. The law restricts the principal?s possibilities to maximize their profit, which equals the total surplus, because they leave no rent to the agent. However, under asymmetric information, a principal must leave a rent to the agent, and hence profit maximization is no longer equivalent to surplus maximization. Therefore, a job protection law can increase the expected total surplus by restricting the principal?s possibilities to inefficiently reduce the agent?s rent.