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The Implications of Flexible Staffing Arrangements for Job Stability

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  • Susan N. Houseman

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

  • Anne E. Polivka

    (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the job stability of workers in a wide range of flexible staffing arrangements: agency temporary, direct-hire temporary, on-call, contract company, independent contractor, and regular part-time work. We draw upon two data sources in our analysis. The first is a nationwide survey of employers on their use of flexible staffing arrangements conducted by the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. This survey provides evidence on why employers use various types of flexible staffing arrangements and the extent to which employers move workers in these positions into regular arrangements within their organization. The second data source is the Supplement to the February 1995 Current Population Survey on Contingent and Alternative Work Arrangements. Exploiting the longitudinal component of the CPS, we compare the subsequent labor market status of individuals in flexible work arrangements and those in regular full-time positions in February 1995. We find that, except for independent contractors, workers in flexible staffing arrangements have less job stability than those in regular full-time arrangements in the sense that they are more likely to switch employers, become unemployed, or involuntarily drop out of the labor force within a year. However, the degree of job stability varies considerably across arrangements. We also show that the recent growth in certain types of flexible staffing arrangements could have translated into small declines in aggregate job stability and can account for a substantial share of the modest increase in job switching observed over the last decade.

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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 99-56.

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Date of creation: May 1999
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:99-56

Note: A revised version of this paper appears in David Neumark, ed., On the Job: Is Long-Term Employment a Thing of the Past?, (pp. 427-462). New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2000.
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Related research

Keywords: flexible; staffing; job; stability; Houseman; Polivka;

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References

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  1. Anne E. Polivka & Stephen M. Miller, 1998. "The CPS after the Redesign: Refocusing the Economic Lens," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 249-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Daniel Polsky, 1999. "Changing consequences of job separation in the United States," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 565-580, July.
  3. Bansak, Cynthia A & Raphael, Steven, 1998. "Have Employment Relationships in the United States Become Less Stable?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7d04m8jx, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  4. Jaeger, David A & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling? Reconciling Trends in the Current Population Survey and Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages S1-28, October.
  5. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. repec:fth:prinin:382 is not listed on IDEAS
  7. Rebecca M. Blank, 1994. "The Dynamics of Part-Time Work," NBER Working Papers 4911, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Henry S. Farber, 1998. "Has the Rate of Job Loss Increased in the Nineties?," Working Papers 773, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  9. repec:fth:prinin:394 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Valletta, Robert G, 1999. "Declining Job Security," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages S170-97, October.
  11. Henry S. Farber, 1997. "The Changing face of Job Loss in the United States, 1981-1995," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1997 Micr), pages 55-142.
  12. Henry S. Farber, 1997. "The Changing Face of Job Loss in the United States, 1981-1995," Working Papers 761, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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