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The Effect of Work First Job Placements on the Distribution of Earnings: An Instrumental Variable Quantile Regression Approach

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  • David H. Autor
  • Susan N. Houseman
  • Sari Pekkala Kerr

Abstract

Government employment programs for low-skilled workers typically emphasize rapid placement of participants into jobs, of which many are temporary-help jobs. Using data from Detroit’s welfare-to-work program and the Chernozhukov-Hansen instrumental variables quantile regression method, we find that neither direct-hire nor temporary-help job placements significantly affect the lower tail of the earnings distribution. In the upper tail, direct-hire placements yield sizable earnings increases for over half of participants, while temporary-help placements yield significant earnings losses at higher quantiles. Our results cast doubt on the efficacy of employment programs’ exclusive focus on rapid job placement and their widespread reliance on temporary-help placements.

Suggested Citation

  • David H. Autor & Susan N. Houseman & Sari Pekkala Kerr, 2017. "The Effect of Work First Job Placements on the Distribution of Earnings: An Instrumental Variable Quantile Regression Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 149-190.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/687522
    DOI: 10.1086/687522
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    1. Andrew Dyke & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Kyung-Seong Jeon, 2006. "The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 567-608, July.
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    Cited by:

    1. Drenik, Andres & Jäger, Simon & Plotkin, Pascuel & Schoefer, Benjamin, 2020. "Paying Outsourced Labor: Direct Evidence from Linked Temp Agency-Worker-Client Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 14517, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Andrea Albanese & Bart Cockx & Muriel Dejemeppe, 2022. "Long-Term Effects of Hiring Subsidies for Unemployed Youths—Beware of Spillovers," CESifo Working Paper Series 9972, CESifo.
    3. Pierre Cahuc & Stéphane Carcillo & Andreea Minea, 2021. "The Difficult School-to-Work Transition of High School Dropouts: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 56(1), pages 159-183.
    4. Jahn, Elke Jutta & Rosholm, Michael, 2015. "The Cyclicality of the Stepping Stone Effect of Temporary Agency Employment," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113117, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Santiago Pereda Fernández, 2019. "Identification and estimation of triangular models with a binary treatment," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 1210, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    6. V. Chernozhukov & C. Hansen, 2013. "Quantile Models with Endogeneity," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 5(1), pages 57-81, May.
    7. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2013. "The pay gap of temporary agency workers — Does the temp sector experience pay off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-57.
    8. German Blanco, 2017. "Who benefits from job placement services? A two-sided analysis," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 47(1), pages 33-47, February.
    9. Hernæs, Øystein M., 2020. "Distributional effects of welfare reform for young adults: An unconditional quantile regression approach," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    10. Okudaira, Hiroko & Ohtake, Fumio & Kume, Koichi & Tsuru, Kotaro, 2013. "What does a temporary help service job offer? Empirical suggestions from a Japanese survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 37-68.
    11. Lars Kunze & Nicolai Suppa, 2020. "Who Is Bowling Alone? Quantile Treatment Effects of Unemployment on Social Participation," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 1077, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    12. Balestra, Simone & Backes-Gellner, Uschi, 2017. "Heterogeneous returns to education over the wage distribution: Who profits the most?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 89-105.
    13. Susan N. Houseman, 2014. "Temporary agency work," IZA World of Labor, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), pages 1-27, May.
    14. Michael Chletsos & Stelios Roupakias, 2020. "Education and wage inequality before and during the fiscal crisis: A quantile regression analysis for Greece 2006–2016," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 24(4), pages 1333-1364, November.
    15. Ulku,Hulya & Georgieva,Dorina Peteva, 2022. "Unemployment Benefits, Active Labor Market Policies, and Labor Market Outcomes : Evidencefrom New Global Data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 10027, The World Bank.
    16. Bhaskar Jyoti Neog & Bimal Kishore Sahoo, 2020. "Job Reallocation Dynamics in India: Evidence from Large Manufacturing Plants," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 82(4), pages 934-959, August.
    17. Andreea Minea, 2018. "Essays on the social inclusion of young people : family and labor market pathways [Essais sur l’inclusion sociale des jeunes : trajectoires familiales et professionnelles]," SciencePo Working papers tel-03419531, HAL.
    18. Jahn, Elke J. & Rosholm, Michael, 2014. "Looking beyond the bridge: The effect of temporary agency employment on labor market outcomes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 108-125.
    19. Dai, Xiaoyong & Chapman, Gary, 2022. "R&D tax incentives and innovation: Examining the role of programme design in China," Technovation, Elsevier, vol. 113(C).
    20. David Powell, 2020. "Quantile Treatment Effects in the Presence of Covariates," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 102(5), pages 994-1005, December.
    21. Vanesa Jorda & Jose M. Alonso, 2020. "What works to mitigate and reduce relative (and absolute) inequality?: A systematic review," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2020-152, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    22. Andreea Minea, 2018. "Essays on the social inclusion of young people. Family and labor market pathways," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/7dun75j1019, Sciences Po.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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