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Low-Wage Careers: Are There Dead-End Firms and Dead-End Jobs?

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  • Mosthaf, Alexander

    (University of Mainz)

  • Schnabel, Claus

    (University of Erlangen-Nuremberg)

  • Stephani, Jens

    (Institute for Employment Research (IAB), Nuremberg)

Abstract

Using representative linked employer-employee data of the German Federal Employment Agency, this paper shows that just one out of seven full-time employees who earned low wages (i.e. less than two-thirds of the median wage) in 1998/99 was able to earn wages above the low-wage threshold in 2003. Bivariate probit estimations with endogenous selection indicate that upward wage mobility is higher for younger and better qualified low-wage earners, whereas women are substantially less successful. We show that the characteristics of the employing firm also matter for low-wage earners' probability of escaping low-paid work. In particular small plants and plants with a high share of low-wage earners often seem to be dead ends for low-wage earners. The likelihood of leaving the low-wage sector is also low when staying in unskilled and skilled service occupations and in unskilled commercial and administrational occupations. Consequently, leaving these dead-end plants and occupations appears to be an important instrument for achieving wages above the low-wage threshold.

Suggested Citation

  • Mosthaf, Alexander & Schnabel, Claus & Stephani, Jens, 2010. "Low-Wage Careers: Are There Dead-End Firms and Dead-End Jobs?," IZA Discussion Papers 4696, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp4696
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    5. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnitzlein, Daniel D., 2012. "How important is cultural background for the level of intergenerational mobility?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 335-337.
    2. Tinkl, Fabian, 2010. "A note on Hadamard differentiability and differentiability in quadratic mean," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 08/2010, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    wage mobility; Germany; low-wage employment;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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