Peter T. Chinloy and Ernst W. Stromsdorfer I. Background to Adjustments in Labor Markets The book examines the process of adjustment in labor markets across countries arising from external shocks and shifts in international competi- tiveness. The examination of specific countries and their data permits a comparison of alternative institutions for compensating and redeploying labor. Four countries are involved, whose labor markets are both competi- tive and complementary: Canada, Japan, Mexico, and the United States. Both public labor market institutions, such as direct government com~ pensation of displaced workers and the effect of unemployment insurance, and private market arrangements, such as em loyer-employee agreements on layoffs, the work contract, and severance pay, are considered. Compara- tive examination across countries of labor market and related insitutions is thus possible. The book has a common theme, namely the adjustment of labor markets to exogenous shocks, particularly those externally induced. The unifying focus in on workers whose specific skills in an industry or firm render them relatively immobile.