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The Analysis of Inter-Firm Worker Mobility

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  • Henry S. Farber
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    Abstract

    I use a sample of over fourteen thousand full-time jobs held by workers in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to examine mobility patterns and to evaluate theories of inter-firm worker mobility. The roles of both heterogeneity and state dependence in determining mobility rates for young workers are investigated, and both are found to be very important. There are three main findings. First, mobility is strongly positively related to the frequency of job change prior to the start of the job. Second, job change in the most recent year prior to the start of the job is more strongly related than earlier job change to mobility on the current job. Third, the monthly hazard of job ending is not monotonically decreasing in tenure as most earlier work using annual data has found, but it increases to a maximum at three months and declines thereafter. The first two findings suggest that there is important heterogeneity in mobility but that this heterogeneity is not fixed over time (workers might mature). The third finding is consistent with models of heterogeneous match quality that cannot be observed ex ante. I also find that females hold fewer jobs per year in the labor force than males and that this result is driven by a lower exit rate for females from the first job after entry.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4262.

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    Date of creation: Jan 1993
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    Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, October 1994, pp. 554-593.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4262

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    1. Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
    2. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
    3. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1981. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 21-64 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Francine D. Blau & Larry M. Kahn, 1981. "Race and sex differences in quits by young workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 563-577, July.
    5. Jacob Mincer, 1986. "Wage Changes in Job Changes," NBER Working Papers 1907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
    7. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
    8. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
    9. James J. Heckman, 1981. "Heterogeneity and State Dependence," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 91-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
    11. Dale T. Mortensen, 1978. "Specific Capital and Labor Turnover," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 572-586, Autumn.
    12. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
    13. Flinn, Christopher J, 1986. "Wages and Job Mobility of Young Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S88-S110, June.
    14. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1978. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. 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..
    16. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
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