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Searching for Better Prospects: Endogenizing Falling Job Tenure and Private Pension Coverage

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  • Leora Friedberg
  • Michael T. Owyang
  • Tara M. Sinclair

Abstract

Recent declines in job tenure have coincided with a shift away from traditional defined benefit (DB) pensions, which reward long tenure. Recent evidence also points to an increase in job-to-job movements by workers, and we document gains in relative wages of job-to-job movers over a similar period. We develop a search model in which firms may offer tenure-based contracts like DB pensions to reduce the incidence of costly on-the-job search by workers. Reduced search costs can, under fairly general conditions, lower the value of deterring search and the use of DB pensions.

Suggested Citation

  • Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang & Tara M. Sinclair, 2005. "Searching for Better Prospects: Endogenizing Falling Job Tenure and Private Pension Coverage," NBER Working Papers 11808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:11808
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. David Neumark, 2000. "Changes in Job Stability and Job Security: A Collective Effort to Untangle, Reconcile, and Interpret the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7472, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2000. "Declining costs of communication and transportation: What are the effects on agglomerations?," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 44(9), pages 1745-1761, October.
    4. Jeffrey Pontiff & Andrei Shleifer & Michael S. Weisbach, 1990. "Reversions of Excess Pension Assets after Takeovers," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 21(4), pages 600-613, Winter.
    5. Pedro Portugal & Olivier Blanchard, 2001. "What Hides Behind an Unemployment Rate: Comparing Portuguese and U.S. Labor Markets," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(1), pages 187-207, March.
    6. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, September.
    7. Christopher A. Pissarides, 1994. "Search Unemployment with On-the-job Search," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 61(3), pages 457-475.
    8. Jaeger, David A & Stevens, Ann Huff, 1999. "Is Job Stability in the United States Falling? Reconciling Trends in the Current Population Survey and Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(4), pages 1-28, October.
    9. Bansak, Cynthia A & Raphael, Steven, 1998. "Have Employment Relationships in the United States Become Less Stable?," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt7d04m8jx, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
    10. Richard B. Freeman, 2002. "The Labour Market in the New Information Economy," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(3), pages 288-305.
    11. Edward P. Lazear, 1983. "Pensions as Severance Pay," NBER Chapters,in: Financial Aspects of the United States Pension System, pages 57-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Margaret Stevens, 2004. "Wage-Tenure Contracts in a Frictional Labour Market: Firms' Strategies for Recruitment and Retention," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(2), pages 535-551.
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    Cited by:

    1. Joshua Rauh & Irina Stefanescu & Stephen Zeldes, 2013. "Cost shifting and the freezing of corporate pension plans," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-82, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    2. Leora Friedberg & Michael T. Owyang, 2004. "Explaining the evolution of pension structure and job tenure," Working Papers 2002-022, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
    3. Ashok Thomas & Luca Spataro, 2013. "Pension funds and Market Efficiency: A review," Discussion Papers 2013/164, Dipartimento di Economia e Management (DEM), University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J32 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Nonwage Labor Costs and Benefits; Retirement Plans; Private Pensions
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs
    • J64 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Unemployment: Models, Duration, Incidence, and Job Search

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