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Search and Non-Wage Job Characteristics


  • Paul Sullivan

    () (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

  • Ted To

    () (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)


This paper quantifies the importance of non-wage job characteristics to workers by estimating a structural on-the-job search model. The model generalizes the standard search framework by allowing workers to search for jobs based on both wages and job-specific non-wage utility flows. Within the structure of the search model, data on accepted wages and wage changes at job transitions identify the importance of non-wage utility through revealed preference. The parameters of the model are estimated by simulated minimum distance using the 1997 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY97). The estimates reveal that utility from non-wage job characteristics plays an important role in determining job mobility, the value of jobs to workers, and the gains from job search. More specifically, non-wage utility accounts for approximately one-third of the total gains from job mobility. These large non-pecuniary gains from search are missed by search models which assume that the wage captures the entire value of a job to a worker.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Sullivan & Ted To, 2011. "Search and Non-Wage Job Characteristics," Working Papers 449, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec110070

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Dizioli, Allan & Pinheiro, Roberto, 2016. "Health insurance as a productive factor," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 1-24.
    2. Robert E. Hall & Andreas I. Mueller, 2015. "Wage Dispersion and Search Behavior: The Importance of Non-Wage Job Values," NBER Working Papers 21764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Pinheiro, Roberto & Visschers, Ludo, 2015. "Unemployment risk and wage differentials," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 397-424.
    4. Christopher Taber & Rune Vejlin, 2012. "Estimation of a Roy/Search/Compensating Differential Model of the Labor Market," 2012 Meeting Papers 566, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Argaw, Bethlehem A. & Maier, Michael F. & Skriabikova, Olga J., 2017. "Risk attitudes, job mobility and subsequent wage growth during the early career," ZEW Discussion Papers 17-023, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    6. Brendan Epstein & Ryan Nunn, 2013. "Taxation, match quality and social welfare," International Finance Discussion Papers 1079, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Robert E. Hall & Andreas I. Mueller, 2015. "Wage Dispersion and Search Behavior," Economics Working Papers 15119, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
    8. repec:eee:ecolet:v:162:y:2018:i:c:p:15-17 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Achatz, Juliane & Gundert, Stefanie, 2017. "Arbeitsqualität und Jobsuche von erwerbstätigen Grundsicherungsbeziehern," IAB-Forschungsbericht 201710, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    10. Longhi, Simonetta, 2015. "Do the Unemployed Accept Jobs Too Quickly? A Comparison with Employed Job Seekers," IZA Discussion Papers 9112, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. repec:bla:ecinqu:v:55:y:2017:i:2:p:1064-1090 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Taber, Christopher & Vejlin, Rune Majlund, 2016. "Estimation of a Roy/Search/Compensating Differential Model of the Labor Market," IZA Discussion Papers 9975, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. Solmaria Halleck Vega & J. Paul Elhorst, 2015. "The Slx Model," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 55(3), pages 339-363, June.
    14. Maier, Michael & Argaw, Bethlehem A. & Maier, Michael F. & Skriabikova, Olga J., 2016. "Risk attitudes, job mobility and subsequent wage growth during the early career," Annual Conference 2016 (Augsburg): Demographic Change 145677, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

    More about this item


    job search; non-wage job characteristics; wage growth; revealed preference; compensating differentials;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D9 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers

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