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A Disaggregate Analysis of the Evolution of Job Tenure in Britain, 1975-93


  • Burgess, Simon
  • Rees, Hedley


There continues to be much debate about whether the widescale adoption of new technologies, and the increasing intensity of competition through globalization of product markets have lead to significant changes in job tenure distributions. Our previous work showed that this was not the case at the level of the economy as a whole. To be precise, we found a slight fall for men, and no change for women. This paper extends that work by taking the individual data and investigating changes in the determinants of job tenure. We first look at the age-tenure profile for different birth cohorts of workers, ranging from those born before 1925 to those born in the 1960s. There appears to be little change in this profile for men; for women, one noticeable feature is the increasing likelihood of holding a long-term job in the 25–35 age range. We then estimate probability models for two different cuts of the tenure distribution on the 200,000 observations in our dataset. We find that, controlling for a set of age, demographic, educational, industrial and occupational characteristics, the proportion of workers in short jobs and longer jobs has about the same path as in the aggregate (unconditional) analysis. Further, allowing for the effect of all these characteristics to vary with time does not uncover any evidence of deterioration for particular groups.

Suggested Citation

  • Burgess, Simon & Rees, Hedley, 1997. "A Disaggregate Analysis of the Evolution of Job Tenure in Britain, 1975-93," CEPR Discussion Papers 1711, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1711

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lawrence F. Katz & Gary W. Loveman & David G. Blanchflower, 1995. "A Comparison of Changes in the Structure of Wages in Four OECD Countries," NBER Chapters,in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 25-66 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Changes in Unemployment and Wage Inequality: An Alternative Theory and Some Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(5), pages 1259-1278, December.
    3. Richard B. Freeman & Edward P. Lazear, 1995. "An Economic Analysis of Works Councils," NBER Chapters,in: Works Councils: Consultation, Representation, and Cooperation in Industrial Relations, pages 27-52 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    5. Calvo, Guillermo A & Wellisz, Stanislaw, 1979. "Hierarchy, Ability, and Income Distribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 991-1010, October.
    6. Legros, Patrick & Newman, Andrew F., 1996. "Wealth Effects, Distribution, and the Theory of Organization," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 312-341, August.
    7. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
    8. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    9. James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 1991. "A Model of Dual Labor Markets When Product Demand Is Uncertain," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1373-1383.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michel Fouquin & Sébastien Jean & Aude Sztulman, 2000. "Le marché du travail britannique vu de France," Économie et Statistique, Programme National Persée, vol. 332(1), pages 97-115.
    2. Bergemann, Annette & Mertens, Antje, 2004. "Job Stability Trends, Layoffs and Transitions to Unemployment - An Empirical Analysis for West Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 4792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item


    Job Tenure;

    JEL classification:

    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General


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