Research in Labor Economics
Using data from a retail chain of 193 bakery shops that underwent downsizing, we study the effects of two types of downsizing announcements – closure or sale to another operator – on sales in the affected shops, and how these effects are moderated by job security perceptions. On average, sales in the affected shops go down by 26% after a closure announcement and by 7% after a sale announcement. Sales decline more sharply in shops where employees had higher job security perceptions before the announcement. Our findings are consistent with psychological contract theory: a breach of an implicit contract promising job security in exchange for work effort results in a reciprocal effort withdrawal. We rule out several alternative explanations to our findings.