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Occupational and Industrial Mobility in the United States 1969–93


  • Eric Parrado
  • Asena Caner
  • Edward N. Wolff


Using the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, we investigate occupational and industrial mobility of individuals over the 1969–80 and 1981–93 periods in the United States. We find that workers changed both occupations and industries more frequently in the later period. For example, occupational mobility for men ranged from 15 to 20 percent per year during the first period and from 20 to 25 percent per year over the second. We also find that, for men, occupational and industrial changes are associated with lower earnings, though this effect has lessened somewhat over time, while for women the results are mixed. Our results also indicate that older and less educated workers are less likely to shift occupation or industry, as are better paid men but not better paid women.

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  • Eric Parrado & Asena Caner & Edward N. Wolff, 2005. "Occupational and Industrial Mobility in the United States 1969–93," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_416, Levy Economics Institute.
  • Handle: RePEc:lev:wrkpap:wp_416

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sicherman, Nachum & Galor, Oded, 1990. "A Theory of Career Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 169-192, February.
    2. Steven G. Allen & Robert L. Clark & Ann A. McDermed, 1993. "Pensions, Bonding, and Lifetime Jobs," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 28(3), pages 463-481.
    3. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2001. "Rising Occupational and Industry Mobility in the United States:1968-1993," PIER Working Paper Archive 04-012, Penn Institute for Economic Research, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania, revised 05 Jul 2004.
    4. Bruce C. Fallick, 1996. "A Review of the Recent Empirical Literature on Displaced Workers," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 50(1), pages 5-16, October.
    5. Orazem, Peter F & Mattila, J Peter, 1986. "Occupational Entry and Uncertainty: Males Leaving High School," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 68(2), pages 265-273, May.
    6. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 1998. "Job Change Patterns And The Wages Of Young Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 276-286, May.
    7. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-257, July.
    8. Kathryn L. Shaw, 1985. "Occupational change, employer change, and the transferability of skills," Working Paper Series / Economic Activity Section 55, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    9. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-297, June.
    10. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-323, April.
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