Re: Fix unemployment

Robin Hanson (
Thu, 10 Sep 1998 10:24:18 -0700

Peter McCluskey writes:
> I can think of two small steps that would help reduce some of these problems.
> One is to have job applicants include with their resumes a small bet about
>whether the employer will find the resume interesting enough to justify an
>interview. This would help employers distinguish people who sending out
>resumes in bulk from those who have some idea where they belong.

I like this suggestion. We do have analogues though. People have long used costly signals to indicate their interest. They use fancy paper, send things via FEDEX, make phone calls, show up in person, or include cover letters that indicate substantial research learning about the company. All of these signal that one hasn't done the same thing for thousands of other firms. But bets would be less wasteful, and more tunable.

> The other is to have employers routinely provide public evaluations
>of their employee's job performance. This would reduce the cost to employers
>of distinguishing accurate resumes from inflated ones, at least if our legal
>system can be persuaded to discourage all lawsuits over anything except
>clear-cut lies in the evaluations.

It's not clear elminating lawsuits gives employers an incentive to be honest.

Robin Hanson RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884 140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-8614