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Middle-Age Job Mobility: Its Determinants and Consequences


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  • Ann P. Bartel
  • George J. Borjas


Our paper uses the wealth of information available in the NLS to expand on previous work in several ways. First, we investigate whether there is a meaningful distinction among types of job separations. Traditional analysis has categorized job separations as either employee-initiated (quits) or employer-initiated (layoffs). We question whether this dichotomy is correct. The National Longitudinal Survey data is especially useful for studying the relationship between wages and the probability of quitting. Most theoretical work on the determinants of job separation concludes that the probability of changing jobs is related to a reservation wage. The NLS data set allows us to test this relationship since it includes information on the individual's "hypothetical wage"-- that is, the wage required to induce the individual to accept another job. Given this information, we are able to compare the effects of different measures of the individual's price of time (e.g. the current wage and the reservation wage) on the probability of quitting. In addition, we analyze the role of human capital variables, job related characteristics and family background in the determination of job mobility. The analysis of the determinants of job separations in the cross-section naturally leads to an investigation of the relationship between previous separations and future separations. In particular, we consider whether such a relationship exists, and whether the nature of previous separations is a good predictor of the nature of future separations. Finally, we analyze the effects of job mobility on earnings and on job satisfaction. We distinguish between the immediate gains to mobility and the future gains to mobility, and also consider whether the nature of the separation is an important determinant of the consequences of job mobility.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0161.

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Date of creation: Jan 1977
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Bartel, Ann and Borjas, George. "Middle-Age Job Mobility: Its Determinantsand Consequences." Men in the Pre-Retirement Years, edited by Seymour Wolfbein. Philadelphia, Temple University, 1977.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0161

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  1. Pencavel, John H, 1972. "Wages, Specific Training, and Labor Turnover in US Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, February.
  2. Ann P. Bartel, 1980. "Job Mobility and Earnings Growth," NBER Working Papers 0117, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
  4. John F. Burton & Jr & John E. Parker, 1969. "Interindustry variations in voluntary labor mobility," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 22(2), pages 199-216, January.
  5. McCall, John J, 1970. "Economics of Information and Job Search," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 84(1), pages 113-26, February.
  6. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
  7. Parsons, Donald O, 1972. "Specific Human Capital: An Application to Quit Rates and Layoff Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1120-43, Nov.-Dec..
  8. George J. Borjas & Jacob Mincer, 1976. "The Distribution of Earnings Profiles in Longitudinal Data," NBER Working Papers 0143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Gary S. Becker & Elisabeth M. Landes & Robert T. Michael, 1976. "Economics of Marital Instability," NBER Working Papers 0153, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Alan Gustman & Thomas Steinmeier, 1990. "Pension Portability and Labor Mobility: Evidence From the Survey of Income and Program Participation," NBER Working Papers 3525, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Madrian, Brigitte C, 1994. "Employment-Based Health Insurance and Job Mobility: Is There Evidence of Job-Lock?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(1), pages 27-54, February.
  3. Robert L. Clark & Joseph F. Quinn, 1999. "Effects of Pensions on Labor Markets and Retirement," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 431, Boston College Department of Economics.
  4. Gruber, J. & Madrian, B.C., 1994. "Limited Insurance Portability and Job Mobility: The Effects of Public Policy on Job-Lock," Working papers 94-03, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. George J. Borjas, 1978. "Job Mobility and Earnings Over the Life Cycle," NBER Working Papers 0233, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1987. "Pensions, Efficiency Wages, and Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 2426, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ann P. Bartel, 1980. "The Economics of Migration: An Empirical Analysis with Special Referenceto the Role of Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0198, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Ann P. Bartel, 1980. "Wages, Nonwage Job Characteristics, and Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 0552, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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