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Wage differentials for temporary services work: evidence from administrative data

  • Lewis M. Segal
  • Daniel G. Sullivan

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%.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in its series Working Paper Series with number WP-98-23.

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Date of creation: 1998
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedhwp:wp-98-23
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  1. 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.
  2. Bruce C. Fallick, 1995. "A review of the recent empirical literature on displaced workers," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 95-14, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  3. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448, November.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1995. "The temporary labor force," Economic Perspectives, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, issue Mar, pages 2-19.
  7. 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.
  8. Lewis Segal & Daniel Sullivan, 1996. "The growth of temporary services work," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  9. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
  10. John Abowd & Orley Ashenfelter, 1980. "Anticipated Unemployment, Temporary Layoffs and Compensating Wage Differentials," Working Papers 517, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  11. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
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