Firing Aversion: A Human Resources Perspective
By Bryan Caplan
Yesterday I presented my case against education to GMU’s Osher Lifetime Learning Institute. As usual, the experience was a true merit good: picture a packed room of retirees full of enthusiasm and curiosity for the life of the mind. The feedback is excellent, too. When these students analyze new ideas, they draw upon a lifetime of experience and insight.
Case in point: During my talk, I discussed the reality of firing aversion. As it turns out, one of my students used to work in human resources. In her experience, one of the main reasons why employers don’t fire incompetent workers is that it’s embarrassing for whoever hired them. That would be an admission of error – and people in authority don’t like admitting error. Such denial is clearly expensive; covering for a bad worker can be a full-time job. But many managers are willing to pay the price.