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Cohort Effects in Promotions and Wages: Evidence from Sweden and the United States

  • Illoong Kwon
  • Eva Meyersson Milgrom
  • Seiwoon Hwang

This paper studies the long-term effects of the business cycle on workers’ future promotions and wages. Using the Swedish employer-employee matched data, we find that a cohort of workers entering the labor market during a boom gets promoted faster and reaches higher ranks. This procyclical promotion cohort effect persists even after controlling for workers’ initial jobs, and explains at least half of the wage cohort effects that previous studies have focused on. We repeat the same analyses using personnel records from a single U.S. company, and obtain the same qualitative results.

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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Journal of Human Resources.

Volume (Year): 45 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 ()

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:jhriss:v:45:y:2010:iii:1:p772-808
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  1. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1999. "Survey evidence on wage rigidity and unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," Working Paper Series 1999:2, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  2. Prendergast, Canice, 1993. "The Role of Promotion in Inducing Specific Human Capital Acquisition," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(2), pages 523-34, May.
  3. Oreopoulos, Philip & Wachter, Till von & Heisz, Andrew, 2008. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," IZA Discussion Papers 3578, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1992. "Loss of Skill during Unemployment and the Persistence of Employment Shocks," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1371-91, November.
  5. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
  6. Philippe Aghion & Jean Tirole, 1994. "Normal and Real Authority in Organizations," Working papers 94-13, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
  8. Illoong Kwon, 2006. "Incentives, wages, and promotions: theory and evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 100-120, 03.
  9. Edward P. Lazear & Sherwin Rosen, 1979. "Rank-Order Tournaments as Optimum Labor Contracts," NBER Working Papers 0401, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Devereux, Paul J, 2000. "Task Assignment over the Business Cycle," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(1), pages 98-124, January.
  11. Gary Solon & Warren Whatley & Ann Huff Stevens, 1997. "Wage Changes and Intrafirm Job Mobility over the Business Cycle: Two Case Studies," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(3), pages 402-415, April.
  12. Meyersson Milgrom, Eva M & Petersen, Trond & Snartland, Vemund, 2001. " Equal Pay for Equal Work? Evidence from Sweden and a Comparison with Norway and the U.S," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(4), pages 559-83, December.
  13. 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 665-88, August.
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