Job Security and Work Force Adjustment: How Different are U.S. and Japanese Practices?
Katharine G. Abraham
Susan N. Houseman
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
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