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Escaping low pay: do male labour market entrants stand a chance?

  • Pavlopoulos, Dimitris

    (CEPS/INSTEAD and K.U. Leuven)

  • Fouarge, Didier

    (ROA, Maastricht University)

Purpose { This paper investigates the extent and the human-capital de- terminants of low-wage mobility for labour market entrants, in the UK and Germany. Design/methodology/approach { Using panel data for the UK (BHPS) and Germany (GSOEP), we apply a competing-risks duration model that al- lows us to study transitions from low pay to competing destination states: higher pay, self-employment, unemployment and inactivity. Unobserved het- erogeneity is tackled by a non-parametric mass-point approach. Findings { We ¯nd that low pay is only a temporary state for most young job starters. However, there is a small group of job starters that is caught in a trap of low pay, unemployment or inactivity. In the UK, job starters escape from low pay mainly by developing ¯rm-speci¯c skills. In Germany, involvement in formal vocational training and the attainment of apprenticeship quali¯cations account for low pay exits. Originality/value { Over the past decades, unemployment and low-wage employment have emerged as major challenges facing young labour market entrants. While most empirical studies focus exclusively on the transition from low pay to high pay, we show that a signi¯cant percentage of young entrants are caught in a low-pay - non-employment trap. Moreover, we show that, depending on the institutional context, di®erent types of human capital investments can account for a successful low-pay exit.

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Paper provided by IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD in its series IRISS Working Paper Series with number 2008-12.

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Date of creation: Dec 2008
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Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2008-12
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  1. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
  2. Gagliarducci, Stefano, 2005. "The dynamics of repeated temporary jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 429-448, August.
  3. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2002. "Modelling Low Income Transitions," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 288, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  4. Chevalier, Arnaud & Harmon, Colm & Walker, Ian & Zhu, Yu, 2003. "Does Education Raise Productivity or Just Reflect It?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3993, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Lorenzo Cappellari, 1999. "Low-Wage Mobility in the Italian Labour Market," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 531, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  6. 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.
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  8. Brown, James N, 1989. "Why Do Wages Increase with Tenure? On-the-Job Training and Life-Cycle Wage Growth Observed within Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(5), pages 971-91, December.
  9. Wolfgang Franz & Joachim Inkmann & Winfried Pohlmeier & Volker Zimmermann, 2000. "Young and Out in Germany (On Youths? Chances of Labor Market Entrance in Germany)," NBER Chapters, in: Youth Employment and Joblessness in Advanced Countries, pages 381-426 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Clive Belfield & Xiangdong Wei, 2004. "Employer size-wage effects: evidence from matched employer-employee survey data in the UK," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(3), pages 185-193.
  11. Thomas J. Kane & Dietmar Harhoff, 1997. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 10(2), pages 171-196.
  12. Michael Spence, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-374.
  13. Uhlendorff, Arne, 2006. "From No Pay to Low Pay and Back Again? A Multi-State Model of Low Pay Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 2482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  14. Roy Thurik, 2003. "Entrepreneurship and Unemployment in the UK," Scottish Journal of Political Economy, Scottish Economic Society, vol. 50(3), pages 264-290, 08.
  15. Eng Seng Loh, 1994. "Employment Probation as a Sorting Mechanism," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 471-486, April.
  16. Thomas, Jonathan M, 1996. "An Empirical Model of Sectoral Movements by Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 126-53, January.
  17. Euan Phimister & Ioannis Theodossiou & Richard Upward, 2006. "Is it easier to escape from low pay in urban areas? Evidence from the United Kingdom," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 38(4), pages 693-710, April.
  18. Rainer Winkelmann, 1996. "Employment prospects and skill acquisition of apprenticeship-trained workers in Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 49(4), pages 658-672, July.
  19. Lisa M. Powell, 2002. "Joint Labor Supply and Childcare Choice Decisions of Married Mothers," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 37(1), pages 106-128.
  20. Fabian Lange, 2007. "The Speed of Employer Learning," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 1-35.
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