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Declining labor turnover and turbulence

  • Shigeru Fujita

The purpose of this paper is to identify possible sources of the secular decline in the aggregate job separation rate over the last three decades. The author first shows that aging of the labor force alone cannot account for the entire decline. To explore other sources, he uses a simple labor matching model with two types of workers, experienced and inexperienced, where the former type faces a risk of skill obsolescence during unemployment. When the skill depreciation occurs, the worker is required to restart his career and thus suffers a drop in earnings. The author shows that a higher skill depreciation risk results in a lower aggregate separation rate and a smaller earnings loss. The key mechanisms are that the experienced workers accept lower wages in exchange for keeping the job and that the reluctance to separate from the job produces a larger mass of low-quality matches. He also presents empirical evidence consistent with these predictions.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia in its series Working Papers with number 11-44.

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Date of creation: 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedpwp:11-44
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  16. 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.
  17. Toshihiko Mukoyama & Aysegul Sahin, 2004. "Why Did the Average Duration of Unemployment Become So Much Longer?," Working Papers 04002, Concordia University, Department of Economics.
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  19. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
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