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Wage differentials for temporary services work: evidence from administrative data

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  • Lewis M. Segal
  • Daniel G. Sullivan

Abstract

We use administrative data from the unemployment insurance system State of Washington to study the magnitude of the wage differential associated with work in the temporary services industry. We find that temp wage rates are 15% to 20% below the levels that might have been expected based on trends during other periods in workers' careers even after controlling for differences between temps and other workers. Comparing temp wages immediately before and after temp work or to the wages on non-temp jobs begun during the same period as workers were in the temp industry yields estimates of the temp work penalty as low as 10%.

Suggested Citation

  • Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1998. "Wage differentials for temporary services work: evidence from administrative data," Working Paper Series WP-98-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-98-23
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    File URL: http://www.chicagofed.org/digital_assets/publications/working_papers/1998/wp98_23.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Jacobson, Louis S & LaLonde, Robert J & Sullivan, Daniel G, 1993. "Earnings Losses of Displaced Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(4), pages 685-709, September.
    2. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448.
    3. John M. Abowd & Orley C. Ashenfelter, 1981. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs, and Compensating Wage Differentials," NBER Chapters,in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 141-170 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature on Displaced Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
    5. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "The Growth of Temporary Services Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
    6. Heckman, J.J. & Hotz, V.J., 1988. "Choosing Among Alternative Nonexperimental Methods For Estimating The Impact Of Social Programs: The Case Of Manpower Training," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-12, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
    7. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-324, March.
    8. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
    9. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:26:y:1994:i:1994-3:p:177-248 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "Temporary services employment durations: evidence from state UI data," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-23, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
    11. Topel, Robert, 1990. "Specific capital and unemployment: Measuring the costs and consequences of job loss," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 181-214, January.
    12. Topel, Robert H, 1984. "Equilibrium Earnings, Turnover, and Unemployment: New Evidence," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 500-522, October.
    13. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1995. "The temporary labor force," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Mar, pages 2-19.
    14. Michael Podgursky & Paul Swaim, 1987. "Job Displacement and Earnings Loss: Evidence from the Displaced Worker Survey," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 41(1), pages 17-29, October.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yukako Ono & Daniel Sullivan, 2013. "Manufacturing Plants' Use of Temporary Workers: An Analysis Using Census Microdata," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(2), pages 419-443, April.
    2. Arindrajit Dube & Ethan Kaplan, 2010. "Does Outsourcing Reduce Wages in the Low-Wage Service Occupations? Evidence from Janitors and Guards," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 63(2), pages 287-306, January.
    3. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448.
    4. René Böheim & Ana Rute Cardoso, 2009. "Temporary Help Services Employment in Portugal, 1995-2000," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 309-334 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. David H. Autor, 2000. "Outsourcing at Will: Unjust Dismissal Doctrine and the Growth of Temporary Help Employment," JCPR Working Papers 153, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    6. Böheim, René & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2007. "Temporary Agency Work in Portugal, 1995–2000," IZA Discussion Papers 3144, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Kvasnicka, Michael & Werwatz, Axel, 2002. "On the wages of temporary help service workers in Germany," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2002,70, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    8. Michael Kvasnicka, 2003. "Inside the Black Box of Temporary Help Agencies," Labor and Demography 0310003, EconWPA.
    9. Addison, John T. & Surfield, Christopher J., 2005. "‘Atypical Work’ and Compensation," IZA Discussion Papers 1477, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Marloes de Graaf-Zijl, 2005. "The Anatomy of Job Satisfaction and the Role of Contingent Employment Contracts," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-119/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    11. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2013. "The pay gap of temporary agency workers — Does the temp sector experience pay off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-57.
    12. John T. Addison & Chad D. Cotti & Christopher J. Surfield, 2015. "Atypical Jobs: Stepping Stones or Dead Ends? Evidence from the NLSY79," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 83(1), pages 17-55, January.
    13. Jahn Elke J., 2010. "Reassessing the Pay Gap for Temps in Germany," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 230(2), pages 208-233, April.
    14. Marloes de Graaf-Zijl, 2005. "Compensation of On-call and Fixed-term Employment: the Role of Uncertainty," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-120/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    15. Jahn, Elke J., 2008. "Reassessing the Wage Penalty for Temps in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 3663, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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    Keywords

    Wages ; Temporary employees;

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