IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aejapp/v4y2012i1p1-29.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession

Author

Listed:
  • Philip Oreopoulos
  • Till von Wachter
  • Andrew Heisz

Abstract

This paper analyzes the magnitude and sources of long-term earnings declines associated with graduating from college during a recession. Using a large longitudinal university-employer-employee dataset, we find that the cost of recessions for new graduates is substantial and unequal. Unlucky graduates suffer persistent earnings declines lasting ten years. They start to work for lower paying employers, and then partly recover through a gradual process of mobility toward better firms. We document that more advantaged graduates suffer less from graduating in recessions because they switch to better firms quickly, while earnings of less advantaged graduates can be permanently affected by cyclical downgrading. (JEL E32, I23, J22, J23, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2012. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 4(1), pages 1-29, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:1-29
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.4.1.1
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/app.4.1.1
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/app/app/2009-0288_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Paul Oyer, 2008. "The Making of an Investment Banker: Stock Market Shocks, Career Choice, and Lifetime Income," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 63(6), pages 2601-2628, December.
    2. Paul Beaudry & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2000. "What is Happening in the Youth Labour Market in Canada?," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 26(s1), pages 59-83, July.
    3. Joseph G. Altonji & Nicolas Williams, 2005. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority? A Reassessment," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(3), pages 370-397, April.
    4. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-688, August.
    6. McCall, Brian P, 1990. "Occupational Matching: A Test of Sorts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 45-69, February.
    7. Paul Beaudry & David A. Green, 2000. "Cohort patterns in Canadian earnings: assessing the role of skill premia in inequality trends," Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'économique, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 33(4), pages 907-936, November.
    8. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. David G. Blanchflower & Andrew J. Oswald, 1995. "The Wage Curve," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026202375x, April.
    10. Heisz, Andrew, 2001. "Income Prospects of British Columbia University Graduates," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2001170e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    11. David T. Ellwood, 1982. "Teenage Unemployment: Permanent Scars or Temporary Blemishes?," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 349-390, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    13. Hans G. Bloemen, 2005. "Job Search, Search Intensity, and Labor Market Transitions: An Empirical Analysis," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(1).
    14. Richard B. Freeman & David A. Wise, 1982. "The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature Causes and Consequences," NBER Chapters, in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 1-16, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Black, Dan A. & Smith, J.A.Jeffrey A., 2004. "How robust is the evidence on the effects of college quality? Evidence from matching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 99-124.
    16. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    17. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
    18. Albaek, Karsten & Sorensen, Bent E, 1998. "Worker Flows and Job Flows in Danish Manufacturing, 1980-91," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(451), pages 1750-1771, November.
    19. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
    20. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2010. "Does Wage Persistence Matter for Employment Fluctuations? Evidence from Displaced Workers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 1-21, July.
    21. Heisz, Andrew, 2003. "Cohort Effects in Annual Earnings by Field of Study Among British Columbia University Graduates," Analytical Studies Branch Research Paper Series 2003200e, Statistics Canada, Analytical Studies Branch.
    22. Pedro S. Martins & Gary Solon & Jonathan Thomas, 2010. "Measuring What Employers Really Do about Entry Wages over the Business Cycle," NBER Working Papers 15767, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    23. Mortensen, Dale T, 1988. "Wages, Separations, and Job Tenure: On-the-Job Specific Training or Matching?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 445-471, October.
    24. Krause, Michael U. & Lubik, Thomas A., 2006. "The cyclical upgrading of labor and on-the-job search," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(4), pages 459-477, August.
    25. McLaughlin, Kenneth J & Bils, Mark, 2001. "Interindustry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 94-135, January.
    26. David M. Cutler & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Macroeconomic Performance and the Disadvantaged," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(2), pages 1-74.
    27. David E. Bloom & Richard B. Freeman, 1986. "The "Youth Problem": Age or Generational Crowding?," NBER Working Papers 1829, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    28. Stevens, Ann Huff, 1997. "Persistent Effects of Job Displacement: The Importance of Multiple Job Losses," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(1), pages 165-188, January.
    29. Paul Ryan, 2001. "The School-to-Work Transition: A Cross-National Perspective," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(1), pages 34-92, March.
    30. James Ted McDonald & Christopher Worswick, 1999. "Wages, Implicit Contracts, and the Business Cycle: Evidence from Canadian Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 884-913, August.
    31. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-677, October.
    32. Darren Grant, 2003. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Surveys," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 56(3), pages 393-408, April.
    33. Blau, David M & Robins, Philip K, 1990. "Job Search Outcomes for the Employed and Unemployed," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(3), pages 637-655, June.
    34. Ian M. McDonald & Robert M. Solow, 1985. "Wages and Employment in a Segmented Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1115-1141.
    35. Freeman, Richard B. & Wise, David A. (ed.), 1982. "The Youth Labor Market Problem," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, number 9780226261614.
    36. Storesletten, Kjetil & Telmer, Chris I. & Yaron, Amir, 2001. "The welfare cost of business cycles revisited: Finite lives and cyclical variation in idiosyncratic risk," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 45(7), pages 1311-1339.
    37. Arthur M. Okun, 1973. "Upward Mobility in a High-Pressure Economy," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 4(1), pages 207-262.
    38. Yuji Genda & Ayako Kondo & Souichi Ohta, 2010. "Long-Term Effects of a Recession at Labor Market Entry in Japan and the United States," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
    39. Wayne Vroman, 1977. "Worker Upgrading and the Business Cycle," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 8(1), pages 229-252.
    40. Paul Ryan, 2001. "The School-to-Work Transition: A Cross-National Perspective: Corrigendum," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(3), pages 767-767, September.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Till von Wachter, 2020. "The Persistent Effects of Initial Labor Market Conditions for Young Adults and Their Sources," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 34(4), pages 168-194, Fall.
    3. Berge, Wiljan van den, 2018. "Bad start, bad match? The early career effects of graduating in a recession for vocational and academic graduates," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 75-96.
    4. Fujii, Mayu & Shiraishi, Kousuke & Takayama, Noriyuki, 2013. "The Determinants and Effects of Early Job Separation in Japan," CIS Discussion paper series 590, Center for Intergenerational Studies, Institute of Economic Research, Hitotsubashi University.
    5. Brunner, Beatrice & Kuhn, Andreas, 2009. "To Shape the Future: How Labor Market Entry Conditions Affect Individuals' Long-Run Wage Profiles," IZA Discussion Papers 4601, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Johannes F. Schmieder & Till von Wachter, 2010. "Does Wage Persistence Matter for Employment Fluctuations? Evidence from Displaced Workers," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 1-21, July.
    7. Venke Furre Haaland, 2016. "The lost generation: Effects of youth labor market opportunities on long-term labor market outcomes," Discussion Papers 835, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
    8. Corinna Ghirelli, 2015. "Scars of early non-employment for low educated youth: evidence and policy lessons from Belgium," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-34, December.
    9. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2006. "Enriching a Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics inside Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 59-108, January.
    10. Beartice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "To Shape the Future: How Labor Market Entry Conditions Affect Individuals’s Long-Run Wage Profiles," NRN working papers 2009-29, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    11. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
    12. Brian Bell & Anna Bindler & Stephen Machin, 2018. "Crime Scars: Recessions and the Making of Career Criminals," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 100(3), pages 392-404, July.
    13. Haaland, Venke Furre, 2013. "The Lost Generation: Effects of Youth Labor Market Opportunities on Long-Term Labor Market Outcomes," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2013/8, University of Stavanger.
    14. Gianni De Fraja & Sara Lemos & James Rockey, 2021. "The Wounds That Do Not Heal: The Lifetime Scar of Youth Unemployment," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 88(352), pages 896-941, October.
    15. Corinna GHIRELLI, 2015. "Scars of early non-employment in a rigid labour market," LIDAM Discussion Papers IRES 2015008, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    16. Shvartsman, Elena, 2018. "The State of the Economy at Graduation, Wages, and Catch-up Paths: Evidence from Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 11622, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    17. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2010. "The Impact of Labor Market Entry Condition on Initial Job Assignment, Human Capital Accumulation, and Wages," NRN working papers 2010-15, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    18. Stefan Bender & Till von Wachter, 2006. "In the Right Place at the Wrong Time: The Role of Firms and Luck in Young Workers' Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1679-1705, December.
    19. Schmillen, Achim & Umkehrer, Matthias, 2013. "The scars of youth : effects of early-career unemployment on future unemployment experience," IAB-Discussion Paper 201306, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    20. Beatrice Brunner & Andreas Kuhn, 2009. "To shape the future: How labor market entry conditions affect individuals' long-run wage profiles," IEW - Working Papers 457, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • I23 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Higher Education; Research Institutions
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Lists

    This item is featured on the following reading lists, Wikipedia, or ReplicationWiki pages:
    1. The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession (American Economic Journal: Applied Economics 2012) in ReplicationWiki

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:4:y:2012:i:1:p:1-29. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.