Title

The Diffusion of Judicially Provided Employment Protection: The Employment-at-Will Doctrine

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

12-1-1994

Department

Political Science, International Development, and International Affairs

Abstract

Labor economists in the private sector of the United States have historically expressed concerns that private-sector employers too often terminate employees' employment without just cause. Because the USA lacks statutory restrictions against such actions, many state judicial branches seem to have taken a leading role in providing some degree of employment security. The present note tests the 'intensity' of the occurrence (across states) of judicially provided employment protection, as a function of several demographic, labor and political variables across states. The maximum likelihood tobit results point out that education attainment of the voting population, the current rate of unemployment, and population density of the state are important factors that lead judicial branches of government (across states) to provide such protection at different points in time. This note supports several findings of a previous study by Kesselring and Pittman (1993) which models the dependent variable as a zero/one dummy variable (not a measure of intensity). However, several findings from the Kesselring--Pittman study are reversed when modelled with a dependent variable that attempts to measure the diffusion of judicial protection.

Publication Title

Applied Economics

Volume

26

Issue

12

First Page

1159

Last Page

1162

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