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Repeated Job Quits: Stepping Stones or Learning about Quality?

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  • Gielen, Anne C.

    () (Erasmus University Rotterdam)

Abstract

Despite the fact that worker quits are often associated with wage gains and higher overall job satisfaction, many workers quit once again within one or two years after changing jobs initially. Such repeated job quit behavior may arise as a stepping stone to better quality jobs (Burdett, 1978) or as a response to unexpectedly low job quality (Jovanovic, 1979). This paper tests the validity of both explanations using data from the UK labor market in order to improve our understanding of job search behavior. Results from panel estimations of job quits and job satisfaction illustrate that the labor market is characterized by elements of both explanations. More specifically, a variance decomposition shows that the stepping stone model explains 80 percent of repeated job quit behavior; the remaining 20 percent is the result of learning about job quality. Hence, workers appear to need several job quits to find their most preferred job and multiple job quits serve as a stepping stone to more satisfaction at work.

Suggested Citation

  • Gielen, Anne C., 2008. "Repeated Job Quits: Stepping Stones or Learning about Quality?," IZA Discussion Papers 3838, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3838
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Michela Ponzo, 2012. "On-the-job Search in Italian Labor Markets: An Empirical Analysis," International Journal of the Economics of Business, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(2), pages 213-232, July.
    2. Ferreira, Priscila & Taylor, Mark, 2011. "Measuring match quality using subjective data," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 113(3), pages 304-306.
    3. Lixin Cai, 2015. "The dynamics of low pay employment in Australia," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 36(7), pages 1095-1123, October.
    4. Adrian Chadi & Clemens Hetschko, 2015. "How Job Changes Affect People's Lives: Evidence from Subjective Well-Being Data," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 747, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    5. Hetschko, Clemens & Chadi, Adrian, 2014. "The Magic of the New: How Job Changes Affect Job Satisfaction," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100329, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    6. Haywood, Luke, 2016. "Wealth effects on job preferences," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 1-11.
    7. Adele Bergin, 2013. "Job Changes and Wage Changes: Estimation with Measurement Error in a Binary Variable," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n240-13.pdf, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
    8. Luke Haywood, 2014. "Too Rich to Do the Dirty Work?: Wealth Effects on the Demand for Good Jobs," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 1355, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Ponzo, Michela, 2009. "On-the-job search in italian labour markets: an empirical analysis," MPRA Paper 24200, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    job satisfaction; labor mobility; job search;

    JEL classification:

    • J28 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Safety; Job Satisfaction; Related Public Policy
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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