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Temporary Help Agencies and the Advancement Prospects of Low Earners

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  • Fredrik Andersson
  • Harry J. Holzer
  • Julia Lane

Abstract

In this paper we use a very large matched database on firms and employees to analyze the use of temporary agencies by low earners, and to estimate the impact of temp employment on subsequent employment outcomes for these workers. Our results show that, while temp workers have lower earnings than others while working at these agencies, their subsequent earnings are often higher - but only if they manage to gain stable work with other employers. Furthermore, the positive effects seem mostly to occur because those working for temp agencies subsequently gain access to higher-wage firms than do comparable low earners who do not work for temps. The positive effects we find seem to persist for up to six years beyond the period during which the temp employment occurred.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13434.

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Date of creation: Sep 2007
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Publication status: published as Temporary Help Agencies and the Advancement Prospects of Low Earners , Fredrik Andersson, Harry J. Holzer, Julia Lane. in Studies of Labor Market Intermediation , Autor. 2009
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13434

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  1. Harry J. Holzer & Steven Raphael & Michael A. Stoll, 2006. "Employers in the Boom: How Did the Hiring of Less-Skilled Workers Change during the 1990s?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 283-299, May.
  2. Yannis M. Ioannides & Linda Datcher Loury, 2004. "Job Information Networks, Neighborhood Effects, and Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1056-1093, December.
  3. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-23, CIRANO.
  4. John M. Abowd & Lars Vilhuber, 2002. "The Sensitivity of Economic Statistics to Coding Errors in Personal Identifiers," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
  5. H. J. Holzer & R. J. LaLonde, . "Job Change and Job Stability among Less-Skilled Young Workers," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1191-99, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  6. Rebitzer, James B, 1993. "Radical Political Economy and the Economics of Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 31(3), pages 1394-434, September.
  7. David H. Autor & Susan N. Houseman, 2010. "Do Temporary-Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for Low-Skilled Workers? Evidence from "Work First"," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 96-128, July.
  8. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448, November.
  9. Holzer, Harry J, 1987. "Informal Job Search and Black Youth Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 446-52, June.
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  12. Andrea Ichino & Fabrizia Mealli & Tommaso Nannicini, 2008. "From temporary help jobs to permanent employment: what can we learn from matching estimators and their sensitivity?," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(3), pages 305-327.
  13. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 1906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Daniel Immergluck, 1996. "What employers want: Job prospects for less-educated workers," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer, vol. 24(4), pages 135-143, June.
  15. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. John M. Abowd & John C. Haltiwanger & Julia I. Lane, 2004. "Integrated Longitudinal Employee-Employer Data for the United States," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2004-02, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  17. David Autor & Susan Houseman, 2005. "Temporary Agency Employment as a Way out of Poverty?," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 05-123, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  18. Julia Lane & Kelly S. Mikelson & Pat Sharkey & Doug Wissoker, 2003. "Pathways to work for low-income workers: The effect of work in the temporary help industry," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 581-598.
  19. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  20. Charles L. Schultze, 2003. "The Consumer Price Index: Conceptual Issues and Practical Suggestions," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(1), pages 3-22, Winter.
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Cited by:
  1. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2011. "Does the Sector Experience Affect the Pay Gap for Temporary Agency Workers?," IZA Discussion Papers 5837, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Jahn, Elke J., 2008. "Reassessing the Wage Penalty for Temps in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Okudaira, Hiroko & Ohtake, Fumio & Kume, Koichi & Tsuru, Kotaro, 2013. "What does a temporary help service job offer? Empirical suggestions from a Japanese survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 37-68.
  4. Jahn, Elke J. & Rosholm, Michael, 2014. "Looking beyond the bridge: The effect of temporary agency employment on labor market outcomes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 108-125.
  5. Jahn, Elke J. & Rosholm, Michael, 2010. "Looking Beyond the Bridge: How Temporary Agency Employment Affects Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 10-6, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  6. Bart Cockx & Matteo Picchio, 2009. "Are Short-Lived Jobs Stepping Stones to Long-Lasting Jobs?," CESifo Working Paper Series 2569, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2007. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement," Working Papers 0719, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  8. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2012. "A Price for Flexibility? The Temp Agency Wage Gap in Sweden 1998-2008," IZA Discussion Papers 6587, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. Elke J. Jahn, 2010. "Reassessing the Pay Gap for Temps in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), Justus-Liebig University Giessen, Department of Statistics and Economics, vol. 230(2), pages 208-233.

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