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Within- and between-firm mobility in the low-wage labour market


  • Bolvig, Iben

    () (Department of Economics, Aarhus School of Business)


Wage mobility among low wage earners has previously been focussing on the characteristics of the low wage earners, whereas the role of the firm has been neglected. The purpose of this study is to focus on the characteristics of the firms when analysing variation in wage mobility. The empirical findings confirm that the characteristics of the employing firm indeed matter for low-wage employees´ likelihood of escaping a low-wage job. Especially does the employing firm affect the destination state – i.e. where a low-wage worker goes after having finished a low-wage job, and the findings enable me to identify three types of firms: career firms with high within-firm upward wage mobility, stepping-stone firms with high between-firm upward wage mobility and dead-end firms with low upward wage mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Bolvig, Iben, 2004. "Within- and between-firm mobility in the low-wage labour market," Working Papers 04-11, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:aareco:2004_011 Note: Also available as chapter in: Job Quality and Employer Behaviour / Stephen Bazen, Claudio Lucifora and Wiemer Salverda. Palgrave 2005

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Stephen Bazen, 2001. "Youth and Earnings Mobility: the Case of France in a comparative Framework," LoWER Working Papers wp3, AIAS, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies.
    2. Cockx, Bart & Van der Linden, Bruno & Karaa, Adel, 1998. "Active Labour Market Policies and Job Tenure," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 685-708, October.
    3. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1999. "Low Pay Dynamics and Transition Probabilities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 23-42, February.
    4. Wachtel, Howard M & Betsey, Charles, 1972. "Employment at Low Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 54(2), pages 121-129, May.
    5. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
    6. Ralph E. Smith & Bruce Vavrichek, 1992. "The Wage Mobility of Minimum Wage Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 82-88, October.
    7. Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2002. " Do the 'Working Poor' Stay Poor? An Analysis of Low Pay Transitions in Italy," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 87-110, May.
    8. Maury Gittleman & Mary Joyce, 1999. "Have family income mobility patterns changed?," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 36(3), pages 299-314, August.
    9. Fredrik Andersson & Harry J. Holzer & Julia I. Lane, 2003. "Worker Advancement in the Low-Wage Labor Market: The Importance of Good Jobs," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2003-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tor Eriksson & Niels Westergaard-Nielsen, 2009. "Wage and Labor Mobility in Denmark, 1980-2000," NBER Chapters,in: The Structure of Wages: An International Comparison, pages 101-123 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Schank Thorsten & Schnabel Claus & Stephani Jens, 2009. "Geringverdiener: Wem und wie gelingt der Aufstieg? / Low-Wage Earners: Who Manages to Reach Higher Wage Levels?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(5), pages 584-614, October.

    More about this item


    Low wage earners; wage mobility; firm behaviour; employer-employee relations;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions
    • M52 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Compensation and Compensation Methods and Their Effects

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