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The Unemployment Route to Versatility

  • Roberto Leombruni
  • Roberto Quaranta

In this paper we document a common sense idea: When an individual is searching for a new job, the longer it takes the more s/he will be available to adapt her/his skills, often with a worsening in status and/or wage. We used a dataset of administrative source, containing a sample of individuals' working careers in the private sector, in Italy, years 1985-1996. We do not observe directly the search activity of individuals: What we observe is the re-entry time elapsing from the separation from a job spell, to the association to a new one. The information collected about the job spells, however, is quite rich, and allows a thorough analysis of the main features of job changes. If we do not take into account re-entry times into dependent work, the inter-industry mobility we report is relatively limited, even at high levels of disaggregation. Still (roughly) 50% of job changes occurs within the same 3-digit Ateco sectors, and without changing skill/status. If we condition on re-entry times, we find a positive effect on the probabilities of changing sector in the first months of the search, while for longer re-entry times, and of worsening the working status and wage.

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Paper provided by LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies in its series LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series with number 16.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:16
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  1. McLaughlin, Kenneth J & Bils, Mark, 2001. "Interindustry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 94-135, January.
  2. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1982. "A Theory of Factor Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 1054-69, October.
  3. Boyan Jovanovic & Robert Moffitt, 1990. "An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
  5. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
  6. Haynes, Michelle & Upward, Richard & Wright, Peter, 2000. "Smooth and Sticky Adjustment: A Comparative Analysis of the US and UK," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 517-32, August.
  7. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-61, April.
  8. Greenaway, David & Upward, Richard & Wright, Peter, 2000. "Sectoral Transformation and Labour-Market Flows," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 57-75, Autumn.
  9. Contini, Bruno & Revelli, Riccardo, 1997. "Gross flows vs. net flows in the labor market: What is there to be learned?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 245-263, September.
  10. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  11. Greenaway, David & Nelson, Douglas, 2000. "The Assessment: Globalization and Labour-Market Adjustment," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 1-11, Autumn.
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