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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. Aghion, Philippe & Tirole, Jean, 1994. "Formal and Real Authority in Organizations," IDEI Working Papers 37, Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse.
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  3. Jonas Agell & Per Lundborg, . "Survey evidence on wage rigidity and unemployment: Sweden in the 1990s," EPRU Working Paper Series 99-15, Economic Policy Research Unit (EPRU), University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics.
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  5. 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.
  6. Illoong Kwon, 2006. "Incentives, wages, and promotions: theory and evidence," RAND Journal of Economics, RAND Corporation, vol. 37(1), pages 100-120, 03.
  7. 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.
  8. Paul J. Devereux, 2000. "Task assignment over the business cycle," Open Access publications 10197/313, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  9. 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.
  10. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
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  12. 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.
  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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