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Job Duration, Seniority and Earnings

  • Katharine G. Abraham
  • Henry S. Farber

An important stylized fact about labor markets is that workers with longer seniority with their current employer have higher earnings than other workers with the same total labor market experience. This study shows that workers in longer jobs earn more throughout than workers in a series of shorter jobs and that the measured positive cross-sectional return seniority is largely a statistical artifact due to the correlation of seniority with an omitted variable representing the quality of the worker, the job, or the worker-employer match. The implication is tha t earnings do not, in fact, rise very much with seniority. Copyright 1987 by American Economic Association.

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Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 407.

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Date of creation: Jan 1986
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Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:407
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  1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  2. Joseph G. Altonji & Robert A. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise With Job Seniority?," NBER Working Papers 1616, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. E.K. Berndt & B.H. Hall & R.E. Hall, 1974. "Estimation and Inference in Nonlinear Structural Models," NBER Chapters, in: Annals of Economic and Social Measurement, Volume 3, number 4, pages 653-665 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Hall, Robert E, 1982. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(4), pages 716-24, September.
  5. Katharine G. Abraham & James L. Medoff, 1983. "Length of Service and the Operation of Internal Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 1085, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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