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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.

Suggested Citation

  • Roberto Leombruni & Roberto Quaranta, 2002. "The Unemployment Route to Versatility," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 16, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
  • Handle: RePEc:cca:wplabo:16

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-793, August.
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    3. Jovanovic, Boyan & Moffitt, Robert, 1990. "An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 827-852, August.
    4. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-677, October.
    5. 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.
    6. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-261, April.
    7. 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.
    8. Grossman, Gene M & Shapiro, Carl, 1982. "A Theory of Factor Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(5), pages 1054-1069, October.
    9. Lucas, Robert Jr. & Prescott, Edward C., 1974. "Equilibrium search and unemployment," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 188-209, February.
    10. 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 517-532, August.
    11. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Vilhuber, 2009. "Adjusting Imperfect Data: Overview and Case Studies," NBER Chapters,in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 59-80 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.


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