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Inter-Industry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor

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  • Mark Bils
  • Kenneth J. McLaughlin

Abstract

We investigate whether a market-clearing model of the labor market is consistent with the cyclical upgrading of labor: workers tend to move to higher paying industries in expansions and to lower paying industries in contractions. By applying Roy's (1951) model of self-selection to industry fluctuations, we show that cyclical upgrading can be consistent with market clearing. Applying the model to inter-industry mobility patterns in panel data, we find data of substantial selection by comparative advantage. However, the panel data reveal a selection process that is consistent with cyclical upgrading. Thus the model does not simultaneously account for interindustry mobility in panel data and cyclical upgrading.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4130.

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Date of creation: Aug 1992
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4130

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  1. Akerlof, George A & Yellen, Janet L, 1985. "A Near-rational Model of the Business Cycle, with Wage and Price Intertia," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(5), pages 823-38, Supp..
  2. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme L, 1990. "Self-selection and the Distribution of Hourly Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages S329-63, January.
  3. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-49, September.
  4. McDonald, Ian M & Solow, Robert M, 1985. "Wages and Employment in a Segmented Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1115-41, November.
  5. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
  6. Wachter, Michael L, 1970. "Cyclical Variation in the Interindustry Wage Structure," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 75-84, March.
  7. Keane, Michael & Moffitt, Robert & Runkle, David, 1988. "Real Wages over the Business Cycle: Estimating the Impact of Heterogeneity with Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1232-66, December.
  8. Weiss, Andrew W, 1980. "Job Queues and Layoffs in Labor Markets with Flexible Wages," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 88(3), pages 526-38, June.
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