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Explaining changes in the age distribution of displaced workers

  • Daniel Rodriguez
  • Madeline Zavodny

Using Displaced Worker Survey data, this paper examines changes in the age distribution of displaced workers during the 1983–87 and 1993–97 periods. Older workers comprised a significantly larger fraction of displaced workers during the later period. Potential explanations for this phenomenon include demographic shifts in the labor force, changes in technology, and industry and occupational shifts. Kernel density estimates indicate that the aging of the labor force accounts for the majority of the shift in the age distribution of displaced workers. Changes in technology also appear to have contributed to the shift in the age distribution of displaced workers by increasing the likelihood of displacement among older workers relative to younger workers. Differential changes across age groups between goods-producing and service-producing jobs and between blue-collar and white-collar jobs appear to have had little effect on the change in the age distribution of displaced workers.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series Working Paper with number 2000-1.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2000-1
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  1. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
  2. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1997. "Technological Change and Wages: An Inter-Industry Analysis," NBER Working Papers 5941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Finis Welch, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," UCLA Economics Working Papers 146, UCLA Department of Economics.
  4. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  5. Daniel Polsky, 1999. "Changing consequences of job separation in the United States," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 565-580, July.
  6. John T. Addison & Douglas A. Fox & Christopher J. Ruhm, 1996. "Trade Sensitivity, Technology, and Labor Displacement," NBER Working Papers 5621, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Michael Podgursky & Paul Swaim, 1987. "Job displacement and earnings loss: Evidence from the Displaced Worker Survey," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(1), pages 17-29, October.
  8. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  9. Daniel Polsky, 1999. "Changing Consequences of Job Separation in the United States," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(4), pages 565-580, July.
  10. Daniel Aaronson & Kenneth Housinger, 1999. "The impact of technology on displacement and reemployment," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Q II, pages 14-30.
  11. Welch, Finis, 1979. "Effects of Cohort Size on Earnings: The Baby Boom Babies' Financial Bust," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S65-97, October.
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