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Raising the bar for models of turnover

  • Erwan Quintin
  • John J. Stevens

It is well known that turnover rates fall with employee tenure and employer size. We document a new empirical fact about turnover: Among surviving employers, separation rates are positively related to industry-level exit rates, even after controlling for tenure and size. Specifically, in a dataset with over 13 million matched employee-employer observations for France, we find that, all else equal, a 1 percentage point increase in exit rates raises separation rates by 1/2 percentage point on average. Among current year hires, the average effect is twice as large. This relationship between exit rates and separation rates is robust to a host of data and statistical considerations. We review several standard models of worker turnover and argue that a model with firm-specific human capital accumulation most easily accounts for this new empirical fact.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2005-23.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2005-23
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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Firm-specific Capital and Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1246-60, December.
  2. Erwan Quintin & John J. Stevens, 2005. "Growing old together: firm survival and employee turnover," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2005-22, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1994. "The Transfer of Human Capital," NBER Working Papers 4823, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Dunne, T. & Roberts, M.J. & Samuelson, L., 1988. "Pattenrs Of Firm Entry And Exit In U.S. Manufacturing Industries," Papers 1-88-2, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  6. Poirier, Dale J., 1980. "Partial observability in bivariate probit models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 12(2), pages 209-217, February.
  7. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  9. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Eric Bartelsman & Stefano Scarpetta & Fabiano Schivardi, 2003. "Comparative Analysis of Firm Demographics and Survival: Micro-Level Evidence for the OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 348, OECD Publishing.
  11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  12. Abowd, John M & Corbel, Patrick & Kramarz, Francis, 1997. "The Entry and Exit of Workers and the Growth of Employment: An Analysis of French Establishments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1765, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Keane, Michael P, 1992. "A Note on Identification in the Multinomial Probit Model," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 10(2), pages 193-200, April.
  14. Meng, Chun-Lo & Schmidt, Peter, 1985. "On the Cost of Partial Observability in the Bivariate Probit Model," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 26(1), pages 71-85, February.
  15. Greene, William, 1998. "Sample selection in credit-scoring models1," Japan and the World Economy, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 299-316, July.
  16. Barron, John M & Berger, Mark C & Black, Dan A, 1997. "How Well Do We Measure Training?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 507-28, July.
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