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Returns to Mobility in the Transition to a Market Economy

  • Tito Boeri
  • Christopher J. Flinn

In spite of ongoing dramatic changes in labor market structure, we present statistical evidence that transitional economies display rather low worker flows across sectors and occupations. Such low mobility can be explained by low returns to job changes as well as by market segmentation in the allocation of job offers. We develop an econometric model which enables us to characterize intertemporal changes in probabilities of dismissal, remuneration, and offer arrival rates on the basis of information on observed transitions and wage payments. The model is estimated using data from the Polish Labor Force Survey. Our results indicate a significant degree of segmentation in the allocation of job offers, more stability in public sector versus private sector jobs, and little, if any, rewards to tenure and age in the private sector. These findings support explanations for low mobility in transitional economies, which are based on informational failures, notably that fact that job offers do not reach those who are most prone to take up jobs, and that moving from public to private enterprises is costly, especially for those with high levels of job tenure and labor market experience in the public sector.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 123.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:123
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  1. Puhani, Patrick A. & Steiner, Viktor, 1996. "Public works for Poland? Active labour market policies during transition," ZEW Discussion Papers 96-01, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  2. Lubyova, Martina & van Ours, Jan, 1997. "Unemployment dynamics and the restructuring of the Slovak unemployment benefit system," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 925-934, April.
  3. Flinn, Christopher J., 1997. "Labor Market Structure and Welfare: A Comparison of Italy and the U.S," Working Papers 97-07, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  4. Micklewright, John & Nagy, Gyula, 1996. "Labour market policy and the unemployed in Hungary," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(3-5), pages 819-828, April.
  5. Tito Boeri, 1994. ""Transitional" unemployment," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 2(1), pages 1-25, 03.
  6. Shorrocks, A F, 1978. "The Measurement of Mobility," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(5), pages 1013-24, September.
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