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

  • Michele Pellizzari

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.

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File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19980/
File Function: Open access version.
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Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19980.

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Length: 59 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19980
Contact details of provider: Postal: LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.
Phone: +44 (020) 7405 7686
Web page: http://www.lse.ac.uk/

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  12. Cees Gorter & Jos Van Ommeren, 1999. "Sequencing, timing and filling rates of recruitment channels," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 31(10), pages 1149-1160.
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  18. Mortensen, D. T. & Vishwanath, T., 1995. "Personal contacts and earnings: It is who you know!," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 2(1), pages 103-104, March.
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