Working for References
51 Pages Posted: 8 Feb 2021 Last revised: 19 Aug 2021
Date Written: August 19, 2021
We analyze the incentive and welfare consequences of non-verifiable job references in a large economy marked by: moral hazard, limited liability, exogenous job separation, and structural unemployment. In the firm-optimal equilibrium, employers provide references whenever production is successful and workers holding references are hired with certainty in the ensuing period. Compared to a setting without references: the bonus-contract offers are lower, yet the workers’ equilibrium effort is higher. Profits and welfare are higher, yet aggregate worker welfare is lower. Also, firms do not fully internalize the incentive effect of references and could typically increase profits and welfare by jointly raising bonuses.
Keywords: Bonus Contract, General Equilibrium, Job History, Moral Hazard, Referrals, Unemployment
JEL Classification: C73, D61, E24, J33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation