IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Occupational Mobility and the Business Cycle

  • Moscarini, Giuseppe


    (Yale University)

  • Vella, Francis


    (Georgetown University)

Do workers sort more randomly across different job types when jobs are harder to find? To answer this question, we study the mobility of male workers among three-digit occupations in the matched files of the monthly Current Population Survey over the 1979-2004 period. We clean individual occupational transitions using the algorithm proposed by Moscarini and Thomsson (2008). We then construct a synthetic panel comprising annual birth cohorts, and we examine the respective roles of three potential determinants of career mobility: individual ex ante worker characteristics, both observable and unobservable, labor market prospects, and ex post job matching. We provide strong evidence that high unemployment somewhat offsets the role of individual worker considerations in the choice of changing career. Occupational mobility declines with age, family commitments and education, but when unemployment is high these negative effects are weaker, and reversed for college education. The cross-sectional dispersion of the monthly series of residuals is strongly countercyclical. As predicted by Moscarini (2001)’s frictional Roy model, the sorting of workers across occupations is noisier when unemployment is high. As predicted by job-matching theory, worker mobility has significant residual persistence over time. Finally, younger cohorts, among those in the sample for most of their working lives, exhibit increasingly low unexplained career mobility.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3369.

in new window

Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3369
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. John Haltiwanger, 2000. "Aggregate Growth: What Have We Learned from Microeconomic Evidence?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 267, OECD Publishing.
  2. Boyan Jovanovic & Robert Moffitt, 1990. "An Estimate of a Sectoral Model of Labor Mobility," NBER Working Papers 3227, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Verbeek, M. & Nijman, T., 1990. "Testing For Selectivity Bias In Panel Data Models," Papers 9018, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  4. Bruce C. Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2001. "The importance of employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2001-18, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  5. Verbeek, Marno & Vella, Francis, 2005. "Estimating dynamic models from repeated cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 127(1), pages 83-102, July.
  6. Lilien, David M, 1982. "Sectoral Shifts and Cyclical Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 90(4), pages 777-93, August.
  7. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, June.
  8. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," CIRANO Working Papers 94s-23, CIRANO.
  9. Steven J. Davis & R. Jason Faberman & John Haltiwanger, 2006. "The Flow Approach to Labor Markets: New Data Sources and Micro-Macro Links," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 3-26, Summer.
  10. Attanasio, Orazio & Davis, Steven J, 1996. "Relative Wage Movements and the Distribution of Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(6), pages 1227-62, December.
  11. 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.
  12. repec:oup:restud:v:68:y:2001:i:3:p:593-612 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. McCall, Brian P, 1990. "Occupational Matching: A Test of Sorts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 45-69, February.
  14. repec:oup:restud:v:67:y:2000:i:4:p:635-66 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Derek Neal, 1998. "The Complexity of Job Mobility Among Young Men," NBER Working Papers 6662, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. McLaughlin, Kenneth J & Bils, Mark, 2001. "Interindustry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 94-135, January.
  17. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
  18. Giuseppe Moscarini, 2001. "Excess Worker Reallocation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(3), pages 593-612.
  19. Abowd, John M & Zellner, Arnold, 1985. "Estimating Gross Labor-Force Flows," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(3), pages 254-83, June.
  20. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Thomsson, Kaj, 2006. "Occupational and Job Mobility in the US," Working Papers 19, Yale University, Department of Economics.
  21. Nijman, T.E. & Verbeek, M.J.C.M., 1992. "Testing for selectivity in panel data models," Other publications TiSEM 7ec34a6c-1d84-4052-971c-d, Tilburg University, School of Economics and Management.
  22. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  23. Farber, Henry S, 1994. "The Analysis of Interfirm Worker Mobility," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 12(4), pages 554-93, October.
  24. Deaton, Angus, 1985. "Panel data from time series of cross-sections," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 30(1-2), pages 109-126.
  25. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
  26. repec:oup:restud:v:61:y:1994:i:3:p:457-75 is not listed on IDEAS
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3369. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.