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Do friends and relatives really help in getting a good job?

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  • Pellizzari, Michele

Abstract

Informal contacts are extensively used by both firms and workers to find jobs and fill vacancies. The common wisdom in the economic literature is that jobs created through this channel are of better quality and pay higher wages than jobs created through formal methods. This paper explores the empirical evidence for European countries using the European Community Household Panel (ECHP) and discovers a large cross-country as well as cross-industry variation in the wage differentials between jobs found through informal and formal methods. Across countries and industries wage premiums and wage penalties to finding jobs through personal contacts are equally frequent. This paper argues that such variation can be explained by looking at firms' recruitment strategies. In labour markets where employers invest largely in formal recruitment activities, matches created through this channel are likely to be of average better quality than those created through informal networks. A simple theoretical model is used to show that employers invest more in recruitment for high productivity jobs and for positions that require considerable training. The empirical predictions of the theory are successfully tested using industry-level data on recruitment costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Pellizzari, Michele, 2004. "Do friends and relatives really help in getting a good job?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19980, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19980
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social Networks; Wage Differentials; Recruitment; Hiring;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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