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Temporary Help Work: Compensating Differentials and Multiple Job-Holding


  • Hamersma, Sarah

    () (University of Florida)

  • Heinrich, Carolyn J.

    () (University of Texas at Austin)

  • Mueser, Peter R.

    () (University of Missouri-Columbia)


Temporary Help Services (THS) employment has been growing in size, particularly among disadvantaged workers, and in importance in balancing cyclical fluctuations in labor demand. Does THS employment provide some benefits to disadvantaged workers, or divert them from better jobs? We investigate whether THS jobs pay a compensating differential, as would be expected for relatively undesirable jobs. We also address multiple job-holding, exploring whether workers get "stuck" in THS jobs. We find lower quarterly earnings at THS jobs relative to others, but a $1 per hour wage premium. We reconcile these findings by examining hours worked at THS and traditional jobs.

Suggested Citation

  • Hamersma, Sarah & Heinrich, Carolyn J. & Mueser, Peter R., 2012. "Temporary Help Work: Compensating Differentials and Multiple Job-Holding," IZA Discussion Papers 6759, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6759

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. David H. Autor & Susan N. Houseman, 2010. "Do Temporary-Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for Low-Skilled Workers? Evidence from "Work First"," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 96-128, July.
    2. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Jeff Frank, 2002. "Temporary Jobs: Stepping Stones Or Dead Ends?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages 189-213, June.
    3. Böheim, René & Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2007. "Temporary Agency Work in Portugal, 1995–2000," IZA Discussion Papers 3144, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Sarah Hamersma, 2011. "Why Don'T Eligible Firms Claim Hiring Subsidies? The Role Of Job Duration," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 49(3), pages 916-934, July.
    5. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2005. "Welfare to Temporary Work: Implications for Labor Market Outcomes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 154-173, February.
    6. Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2005. "Temporary Employment Experiences of Women on Welfare," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(2), pages 335-350, January.
    7. Sarah Hamersma & Carolyn Heinrich, 2008. "Temporary Help Service Firms' Use of Employer Tax Credits: Implications for Disadvantaged Workers' Labor Market Outcomes," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 1123-1148, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jahn, Elke J. & Pozzoli, Dario, 2013. "The pay gap of temporary agency workers — Does the temp sector experience pay off?," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(C), pages 48-57.
    2. Barry T. Hirsch & Muhammad M. Husain & John V. Winters, 2016. "Multiple job holding, local labor markets, and the business cycle," IZA Journal of Labor Economics, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 5(1), pages 1-29, December.
    3. Busk, Henna & Jahn, Elke J. & Dauth, Christine, 2015. "Do Changes in Regulation Affect Temporary Agency Workers' Job Satisfaction?," IZA Discussion Papers 8803, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    temporary employment; compensating differential; quarterly earnings; wages; multiple jobs;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J4 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets

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