Research Handbook on Employee Turnover

Research Handbook on Employee Turnover

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by George Saridakis and Cary L. Cooper

Covering the period of the financial crisis, this Research Handbook discusses the degree of importance of different driving forces on employee turnover. The discussions contribute to policy agendas on productivity, firm performance and economic growth. The contributors provide a selection of theoretical and empirical research papers that deal with aspects of employee turnover, as well as its effects on workers and firms within the current socio-economic environment. It draws on theories and evidence from economics, management, social sciences and other related disciplines.

Chapter 13: Quit turnover and the business cycle: a survey

Carlos Carrillo-Tudela and Melvyn Coles

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour


Workers might change jobs for many reasons. They might fall out with the boss and so decide to change employer, or learn that the job is not really for them, or they might accept a poorly paid job as being preferable to being unemployed – say, gathering work experience improves one’s CV – and continue search for something better while employed. A slightly different reason is that some firms may hit a sticky patch and, fearing the risk of lay-off, employees quit for more permanent employment elsewhere. A competitive labour market ensures such quit turnover is efficient: it reallocates workers from less to more productive matches. In non-competitive labour markets, however, firms always have the incentive to increase profit by paying a wage below marginal product, while in the absence of slavery contracts, employees always retain the option of quitting to better-paid employment. The interaction between these two forces need not generate efficient outcomes. The focus of this chapter is to consider new developments in the search and matching literature where wages, quit turnover and unemployment are endogenously determined in economies with aggregate shocks. The aim of the discussion is not only to highlight possible market failures but also to explain how on-the job search and employee turnover fundamentally affect our understanding of fluctuations in aggregate employment.

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