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Job Mobility and Earnings Over the Life Cycle

  • George J. Borjas

The paper analyzes the effects of job mobility on earnings both at young and at older ages. The model takes into account the discontinuity of earnings across jobs, the decline of human capital investment within the job and over the life cycle, and the effects of mobility on the slope of the earnings profile. Careful attention to the functional form of the earnings equation indicates why the coefficient of the current segment is usually larger than the coefficient of the previous segments. Findings from the NLS data include: (1.) Mobile individuals at all ages invest significantly less in on-the-job training. (2.) Although job mobility is associated with significant wage gains (across jobs), there is a substantial wage differential between the mobile and the non-mobile at older ages. (3.) The explanatory power of the earnings equation is significantly increased by accounting for the effects of job mobility; job mobility is an important determinant of the wage structure.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 0233.

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Date of creation: Feb 1978
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as George J. Borjas, 1981. "Job mobility and earnings over the life cycle," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(3), pages 365-376, April.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:0233
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  1. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  2. Malkiel, Burton G & Malkiel, Judith A, 1973. "Male-Female Pay Differentials in Professional Employment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 63(4), pages 693-705, September.
  3. Polachek, Solomon William, 1975. "Differences in Expected Post-school Investments as a Determinant of Market Wage Differentials," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 16(2), pages 451-70, June.
  4. Sherwin Rosen, 1972. "Learning and Experience in the Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 7(3), pages 326-342.
  5. Freeman, Richard B, 1974. "Occupational Training in Proprietary Schools and Technical Institutes," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 56(3), pages 310-18, August.
  6. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1977. "Middle-Age Job Mobility: Its Determinants and Consequences," NBER Working Papers 0161, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Griliches, Zvi, 1976. "Wages of Very Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S69-85, August.
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