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Worker Perceptions of Job Insecurity in the Mid-1990s: Evidence from the Survey of Economic Expectations

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  • Charles F. Manski
  • John D. Straub

Abstract

This paper analyzes the probabilistic measures of job insecurity that have recently become available through the nationwide Survey of Economic Expectations (SEE). Since 1994, employed SEE respondents have been asked questions eliciting their expectations of job loss in the coming year and their expectations of a good outcome should they lose their current job and have to engage in job search. The responses of 3600 persons interviewed from 1994 through early 1998 are analyzed here. It is found that workers vary considerably in their perceptions of job insecurity. Most workers perceive little or no risk but some perceive moderate to high risk. Expectations of job loss tend to decrease markedly with age, but so do expectations of a good outcome should job search become necessary. The net result is that composite job insecurity tends not to vary at all with age. Subjective probabilities of job loss tend to decrease with schooling while subjective probabilities of good search outcomes tend to increase; hence composite job insecurity tends to decrease with schooling. Perceptions of job insecurity vary little by sex but substantially by race. The main differences are that subjective probabilities of job loss among blacks tend to be nearly double those of whites. Self-employed workers see themselves as facing less job insecurity than do those who work for others. Workers tended to perceive less job insecurity in 1996 and 1997 than in 1994 and 1995. Moving beyond descriptive analysis, the paper connects the emiprical findings to modern theories of the labor market. The theory of job search is used to interpret the empirical finding that the distribution of search-outcome expectations is symmetric and quite dispersed.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University in its series IPR working papers with number 98-27.

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Handle: RePEc:wop:nwuipr:98-27

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  1. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1994. "Using Expectations Data to Study Subjective Income Expectations," Econometrics 9411003, EconWPA.
  2. Jeff Dominitz & Charles F. Manski, 1996. "Eliciting Student Expectations of the Returns to Schooling," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 31(1), pages 1-26.
  3. Horowitz, Joel L. & Manski, Charles F., 1998. "Censoring of outcomes and regressors due to survey nonresponse: Identification and estimation using weights and imputations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 37-58, May.
  4. Guiso, Luigi & Jappelli, Tullio & Terlizzese, Daniele, 1992. "Earnings uncertainty and precautionary saving," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 307-337, November.
  5. Charles F. Manski, 1993. "Adolescent Econometricians: How Do Youth Infer the Returns to Schooling?," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education, pages 43-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. F. Thomas Juster, 1966. "Consumer Buying Intentions and Purchase Probability: An Experiment in Survey Design," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number just66-2, October.
  7. Jeff Dominitz, 1998. "Earnings Expectations, Revisions, And Realizations," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(3), pages 374-388, August.
  8. Lancaster, Tony & Chesher, Andrew, 1983. "An Econometric Analysis of Reservation Wages," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 51(6), pages 1661-76, November.
  9. Lippman, Steven A & McCall, John J, 1976. "The Economics of Job Search: A Survey," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 14(3), pages 347-68, September.
  10. Martin Feldstein & James M. Poterba, 1984. "Unemployment Insurance and Reservation Wages," NBER Working Papers 1011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Charles T. Clotfelter & Michael Rothschild, 1993. "Studies of Supply and Demand in Higher Education," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number clot93-1, October.
  12. Das, J.W.M. & Donkers, A.C.D., 1997. "How Certain are Dutch Households about Future Income? An Empirical Analysis," Discussion Paper 1997-38, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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Cited by:
  1. D'Orlando, Fabio & Ferrante, Francesco, 2009. "The demand for job protection: Some clues from behavioural economics," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 104-114, January.
  2. Becker, Sascha O. & Bentolila, Samuel & Fernandes, Ana & Ichino, Andrea, 2005. "Youth Emancipation and Perceived Job Insecurity of Parents and Children," IZA Discussion Papers 1836, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2006. "The Long-Run Cost of Job Loss as Measured by Consumption Changes," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 405, McMaster University.
  4. Seamus McGuinness & Mark Wooden & Markus Hahn, 2012. "Job Insecurity and Future Labour Market Outcomes," Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series wp2012n12, Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne.
  5. Ildefonso Méndez & Francisco Maeso, 2008. "The Role Of Partnership Status And Expectations On The Emancipation Behaviour Of Spanish Graduates," Working Papers wp2008_0812, CEMFI.
  6. Vladimir Gimpelson & Aleksey Oshchepkov, 2012. "Does More Unemployment Cause More Fear of Unemployment?," HSE Working papers WP BRP 13/EC/2012, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
  7. Marcel Garz, 2012. "Job Insecurity Perceptions and Media Coverage of Labor Market Policy," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 33(4), pages 528-544, December.
  8. Linz, Susan J. & Semykina, Anastasia, 2010. "Perceptions of economic insecurity: Evidence from Russia," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 357-385, December.
  9. Linz, Susan J. & Semykina, Anastasia, 2008. "How do workers fare during transition? Perceptions of job insecurity among Russian workers, 1995-2004," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 442-458, June.
  10. Horowitz, Joel L. & Manski, Charles F., 2006. "Identification and estimation of statistical functionals using incomplete data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 132(2), pages 445-459, June.
  11. Geishecker, Ingo, 2012. "Simultaneity bias in the analysis of perceived job insecurity and subjective well-being," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 116(3), pages 319-321.
  12. Origo, Federica & Pagani, Laura, 2009. "Flexicurity and job satisfaction in Europe: The importance of perceived and actual job stability for well-being at work," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(5), pages 547-555, October.
  13. Geishecker, Ingo & Riedl, Maximilian & Frijters, Paul, 2012. "Offshoring and job loss fears: An econometric analysis of individual perceptions," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 738-747.

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