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Who Moves Up the Job Ladder?

Author

Listed:
  • John Haltiwanger
  • Henry Hyatt
  • Erika McEntarfer

Abstract

In this paper, we use linked employer-employee data to study the reallocation of heterogeneous workers between heterogeneous firms. We build on recent evidence of a cyclical job ladder that reallocates workers from low-productivity to high-productivity firms through job-to-job moves. In this paper, we turn to the question of who moves up this job ladder and the implications for worker sorting across firms. Not surprisingly, we find that job-to-job moves reallocate younger workers disproportionately from less productive to more productive firms. More surprisingly, especially in the context of the recent literature on assortative matching with on-the-job search, we find that job-to-job moves disproportionately reallocate less educated workers up the job ladder. This finding holds even though we find that more educated workers are more likely to work with more productive firms. We find that while highly educated workers are less likely to match to low-productivity firms, they are also less likely to separate from them, with less educated workers more likely to separate to a better employer in expansions and to be shaken off the ladder (separate to nonemployment) in contractions. Our findings underscore the cyclical role job-to-job moves play in matching workers to better-paying employers.

Suggested Citation

  • John Haltiwanger & Henry Hyatt & Erika McEntarfer, 2018. "Who Moves Up the Job Ladder?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 301-336.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:doi:10.1086/694417
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/694417
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    Other versions of this item:

    • John Haltiwanger & Henry Hyatt & Erika McEntarfer, 2015. "Who Moves Up the Job Ladder?," NBER Chapters,in: Firms and the Distribution of Income: The Roles of Productivity and Luck National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. David Card & Ana Rute Cardoso & Joerg Heining & Patrick Kline, 2018. "Firms and Labor Market Inequality: Evidence and Some Theory," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 36(S1), pages 13-70.
    2. Mortensen, Dale & Pissarides, Christopher, 2011. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," Economic Policy, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, vol. 1, pages 1-19.
    3. John C. Haltiwanger & Henry R. Hyatt & Lisa B. Kahn & Erika McEntarfer, 2018. "Cyclical Job Ladders by Firm Size and Firm Wage," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 10(2), pages 52-85, April.
    4. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2012. "The Contribution of Large and Small Employers to Job Creation in Times of High and Low Unemployment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(6), pages 2509-2539, October.
    5. John M. Abowd & John Haltiwanger & Ron Jarmin & Julia Lane & Paul Lengermann & Kristin McCue & Kevin McKinney & Kristin Sandusky, 2005. "The Relation among Human Capital, Productivity, and Market Value: Building Up from Micro Evidence," NBER Chapters,in: Measuring Capital in the New Economy, pages 153-204 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Chad Syverson, 2011. "What Determines Productivity?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 49(2), pages 326-365, June.
    7. Michael W. L. Elsby & Ryan Michaels, 2013. "Marginal Jobs, Heterogeneous Firms, and Unemployment Flows," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-48, January.
    8. John Haltiwanger & Henry Hyatt & Erika McEntarfer, 2015. "Cyclical Reallocation of Workers Across Employers by Firm Size and Firm Wage," NBER Working Papers 21235, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Chang-Tai Hsieh & Peter J. Klenow, 2009. "Misallocation and Manufacturing TFP in China and India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(4), pages 1403-1448.
    10. Chad Syverson, 2004. "Market Structure and Productivity: A Concrete Example," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(6), pages 1181-1222, December.
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    13. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2009. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," NBER Chapters,in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 149-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Giuseppe Moscarini & Fabien Postel-Vinay, 2016. "Did the Job Ladder Fail after the Great Recession?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(S1), pages 55-93.
    15. Eric Bartelsman & John Haltiwanger & Stefano Scarpetta, 2013. "Cross-Country Differences in Productivity: The Role of Allocation and Selection," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 305-334, February.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Bachmann, Ronald & David, Peggy, 2009. "The importance of two-sided heterogeneity for the cyclicality of labour market dynamics," Technical Reports 2009,05, Technische Universität Dortmund, Sonderforschungsbereich 475: Komplexitätsreduktion in multivariaten Datenstrukturen.
    2. Leland Crane & Henry Hyatt & Seth Murray, 2018. "Cyclical Labor Market Sorting," 2018 Meeting Papers 939, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Philipp Meinen & Pierpaolo Parrotta & Davide Sala & Erdal Yalcin, 2018. "Managers as Knowledge Carriers - Explaining Firms' Internationalization Success with Manager Mobility," CESifo Working Paper Series 7126, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Alex Xi He & John Kennes & Daniel le Maire, 2018. "Complementarity and Advantage in the Competing Auctions of Skills," Economics Working Papers 2018-10, Department of Economics and Business Economics, Aarhus University.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E32 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles - - - Business Fluctuations; Cycles
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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