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Monkey Bars and Ladders: The Importance of Lateral and Vertical Job Mobility in Internal Labor Market Careers


  • Dohmen, Thomas

    (University of Bonn and IZA)

  • Kriechel, Ben

    (Economix Research & Consulting)

  • Pfann, Gerard A.

    (Maastricht University)


The research area of the new economics of personnel has a short but important and insightful history. Theory ahead of measurement asks for testing newly developed human resource concepts. These tests often need detailed firm-specific data. Repetition and comparison of results is key in finding out what holds true in general and what marks idiosyncrasy. In this paper, we compare results from the existing literature with the outcomes from analyzing personnel data of the Dutch aircraft manufacturer Fokker during the period January 1, 1987, the day the company started with their electronic personnel filing system, until March 15, 1996, the day the company filed for bankruptcy. We shed light on differences in the functioning of internal labor markets during periods of workforce growth and decline. We find multiple ports of entry that are concentrated in low blue and white-collar levels. New entrants are younger and have higher educational levels than incumbent workers who are promoted to similar jobs. Despite substantial variation in individual wages, careers are important as wages are strongly related to job levels. Promotion rates fall and demotion rates rise when the firm enters the stage of demise. Job-rotation improves promotion chances, stimulates wage growth, and reduces the lay-off risk.

Suggested Citation

  • Dohmen, Thomas & Kriechel, Ben & Pfann, Gerard A., 2003. "Monkey Bars and Ladders: The Importance of Lateral and Vertical Job Mobility in Internal Labor Market Careers," IZA Discussion Papers 867, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp867

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    personnel economics; human resource management; internal labor markets;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs

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