The Effect of Retaliation Costs on Employee Whistleblowing
53 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2021
Date Written: December 15, 2020
We use large increases in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits to study the effects of expected retaliation costs on employee whistleblowing. Increases in UI benefits reduce the costs that arise from a job loss, one of the costliest forms of retaliation. We find that increases in UI benefits increase the number of facility-level employee workplace safety complaints filed with the regulator. Furthermore, UI benefit increases also result in more violations and more penalties. The effects are concentrated in firms where retaliation is more likely as measured by weaker employee relations, internal controls, and monitoring. Our findings show the importance of reducing retaliation costs to tap into employees’ knowledge of misconduct.
Keywords: Employee Whistleblowing, Retaliation Costs, Labor Unemployment Insurance, Workplace Safety Inspections
JEL Classification: M40, M41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation