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An Alternative Look at Temporary Workers, Their Choices, and the Growth in Temporary Employment

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  • MICHAEL D. S. MORRIS
  • ALEXANDER VEKKER

Abstract

We examine temporary workers (temps), their choices, and growth in temporary employment. We find that some people choose a temporary job because they desire greater schedule flexibility, particularly students and women with children. For most, however, weaker permanent job opportunities drive them into temporary positions. Using the 1995 and 1997 Current Population Surveys (CPS) we find that both the percentage of the work force in temporary jobs and the absolute number of temps declined when applying a new CPS-based measure of temporary. This is in stark contrast to the rising percentage found in several previous studies when looking only at workers in personnel supply services and clearly questions prior claims and concerns about growth in the temporary work force.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael D. S. Morris & Alexander Vekker, 2001. "An Alternative Look at Temporary Workers, Their Choices, and the Growth in Temporary Employment," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 22(2), pages 373-390, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:tra:jlabre:v:22:y:2001:i:2:p:373-390
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    Cited by:

    1. C Green & J S Heywood, 2007. "Are flexible contracts bad for workers? Evidence from job satisfaction data," Working Papers 590927, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
    2. Andrew Burke & Marc Cowling, 2020. "On the critical role of freelancers in agile economies," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 393-398, August.
    3. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2005. "Welfare to Temporary Work: Implications for Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 154-173, February.
    4. Gail Pacheco & Bill Cochrane, 2015. "Decomposing the temporary-permanent wage gap in New Zealand," Working Papers 2015-07, Auckland University of Technology, Department of Economics.
    5. Sílvia Lopes & Maria Chambel, 2014. "Motives for Being Temporary Agency Worker: Validity Study of One Measure According to The Self-Determination Theory," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 116(1), pages 137-152, March.
    6. Cheryl Carleton & Mary T. Kelly, 2016. "Alternative Work Arrangements and Job Satisfaction," Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics Working Paper Series 32, Villanova School of Business Department of Economics and Statistics.
    7. Heywood, John S. & Siebert, W. Stanley & Wei, Xiangdong, 2006. "Examining the Determinants of Agency Work: Do Family Friendly Practices Play a Role?," IZA Discussion Papers 2413, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Inga Laß & Mark Wooden, 2019. "The Structure of the Wage Gap for Temporary Workers: Evidence from Australian Panel Data," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 57(3), pages 453-478, September.
    9. McVicar, Duncan & Wooden, Mark & Fok, Yin King, 2017. "Contingent Employment and Labour Market Pathways: Bridge or Trap?," IZA Discussion Papers 10768, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Sharon Bolton & Maeve Houlihan & Knut Laaser, 2012. "Contingent Work and Its Contradictions: Towards a Moral Economy Framework," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 111(1), pages 121-132, November.
    11. Fabio Berton & Matteo Richiardi & Stefano Sacchi, 2013. "Non-standard work, low-paid work and employment dynamics: evidence from an occupational perspective," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 336, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    12. René Petilliot, 2018. "How important is the type of working contract for job satisfaction of agency workers?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 65(3), pages 359-379, September.
    13. Sarah Hamersma & Carolyn Heinrich, 2008. "Temporary Help Service Firms' Use of Employer Tax Credits: Implications for Disadvantaged Workers' Labor Market Outcomes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 1123-1148, April.
    14. Judith A. Cook & Jane K. Burke-Miller & Dennis D. Grey, 2015. "Impact of Contingent Work on Subsequent Labor Force Participation and Wages of Workers with Psychiatric Disabilities," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dc9fe635fb3940d6a5740964f, Mathematica Policy Research.
    15. Younga Kim, 2015. "Changes in Precarious Employment Among South Korean Women," Mathematical Population Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 22(2), pages 101-123, June.
    16. Engellandt, Axel & Riphahn, Regina T., 2005. "Temporary contracts and employee effort," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(3), pages 281-299, June.
    17. Petilliot, René, 2016. "How important is the type of working contract for job satisfaction of agency workers?," FZG Discussion Papers 61, University of Freiburg, Research Center for Generational Contracts (FZG).
    18. René Petilliot, 2016. "How Important is the Type of Working Contract for Job Satisfaction of Agency Workers?," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 832, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    19. Imanol Nunez & Ilias Livanos, 2015. "Temps “by choice”? An Investigation of the Reasons Behind Temporary Employment Among Young Workers in Europe," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 36(1), pages 44-66, March.
    20. Andrew Burke & Marc Cowling, 2020. "The relationship between freelance workforce intensity, business performance and job creation," Small Business Economics, Springer, vol. 55(2), pages 399-413, August.
    21. Cheryl Carleton & Mary Kelly, 2019. "Alternative Work Arrangements and Job Satisfaction," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 47(3), pages 293-309, September.
    22. Gail Pacheco & Don Webber & Dominic Page, 2015. "Temporary Versus Permanent Employment: Does Health Matter?," Australian Journal of Labour Economics (AJLE), Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre (BCEC), Curtin Business School, vol. 18(2), pages 169-186.
    23. Chris Forde & Gary Slater, 2005. "Agency Working in Britain: Character, Consequences and Regulation," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 43(2), pages 249-271, June.

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