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Do Temporary-Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for Low-Skilled Workers? Evidence from 'Work First'

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  • David Autor

    ()
    (MIT and NBER)

  • Susan Houseman

    ()
    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

Abstract

Temporary-help jobs offer rapid entry into paid employment, but they are typically brief and it is unknown whether they foster longer-term employment. We utilize the unique structure of Detroit's welfare-to-work program to identify the effect of temporary-help jobs on labor market advancement. Exploiting the rotational assignment of welfare clients to numerous nonprofit contractors with differing job placement rates, we find that temporary-help job placements do not improve and may diminish subsequent earnings and employment outcomes among participants. In contrast, job placements with direct-hire employers substantially raise earnings and employment over a seven quarter follow-up period.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 05-124.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:05-124

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Keywords: Temporary-help; welfare to work; job placement; low-skill workers; causal effects;

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References

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