Job Security and Work Force Adjustment: How Different Are U.S. and Japanese Practices?

Katharine G. Abraham and Susan N. Houseman , Journal of the Japanese and International Economies 3(4) , 500-521 , December 1989.

This paper compares employment and hours adjustment in Japanese and U.S. manufacturing. In contrast to some previous work, we find that adjustment of total labor input to demand changes is significantly greater in the United States than in Japan; adjustment of employment is significantly greater in the United States, while that of average hours is about the same in the two countries. Although workers in Japan enjoy greater employment stability than do U.S. workers, we find considerable variability in the adjustment patterns across groups within each country. In the United States, most of the adjustment is borne by production workers. In Japan, female workers, in particular, bear a disproportionate share of adjustment.

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