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Social Contacts And Occupational Choice

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Author Info

  • Samuel Bentolila

    ()

  • Claudio Michelacci

    ()

  • Javier Suarez

    ()
    (CEMFI, Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros)

Abstract

Social contacts help workers to find jobs, but those jobs need not be in the occupations where workers are most productive. Hence social contacts can generate mismatch between a worker's occupational choice and his comparative productive advantage. Thus economies with dense social networks can exhibit apparently low labor force quality and, as a result, low returns to firms' investment and depressed aggregate productivity. We employ US and European data for the 1990's to test the key prediction that social contacts distort workers' occupational choices in a direction that reduces their apparent productivity. We find that the use of social contacts helps find jobs one to two months sooner but leads to individual wage discounts of 5% to 7% and produces negative externalities on aggregate productivity.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by CEMFI in its series Working Papers with number wp2004_06.

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Date of creation: Mar 2004
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Handle: RePEc:cmf:wpaper:wp2004_06

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Keywords: Mismatch; search; social mobility.;

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References

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  1. Michele Pellizzari, 2010. "Do Friends and Relatives Really Help in Getting a Good Job?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(3), pages 494-510, April.
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  9. Mortensen, D. T. & Vishwanath, T., 1995. "Personal contacts and earnings: It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 103-104, March.
  10. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
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  13. Luigi Pistaferri, 1999. "Informal Networks in the Italian Labor Market," Giornale degli Economisti, GDE (Giornale degli Economisti e Annali di Economia), Bocconi University, vol. 58(3-4), pages 355-375, December.
  14. Calvo-Armengol, Antoni & Jackson, Matthew O., 2007. "Networks in labor markets: Wage and employment dynamics and inequality," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 132(1), pages 27-46, January.
  15. Norwood, Janet L, 1988. "The Measurement of Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(2), pages 284-88, May.
  16. Saloner, Garth, 1985. "Old Boy Networks as Screening Mechanisms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(3), pages 255-67, July.
  17. Marmaros, David & Sacerdote, Bruce, 2002. "Peer and social networks in job search," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 870-879, May.
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