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The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement

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  • Carolyn J. Heinrich
  • Peter R. Mueser
  • Kenneth R. Troske

Abstract

We examine the effects of temporary help service employment on later earnings and employment for individuals participating in three federal programs providing supportive services to those facing employment difficulties. The programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, whose participants are seriously disadvantaged; a job training program with a highly heterogeneous population of participants; and employment exchange services, whose participants consist of Unemployment Insurance claimants and individuals seeking assistant in obtaining employment. We undertake our analyses for two periods: the late 1990s, a time of very strong economic growth, and shortly after 2000, a time of relative stagnation. Our results suggest that temporary help service firms may facilitate quicker access to jobs for those seeking employment assistance and impart substantial benefits as transitional employment, especially for individuals whose alternatives are severely limited. Those who do not move out of temporary help jobs, however, face substantially poorer prospects, and we observe that nonwhites are more likely than whites to remain in THS positions in the two years following program participation. Our results are robust to program and time period.

Suggested Citation

  • Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2007. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement," NBER Working Papers 13520, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13520
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    Cited by:

    1. Christopher L. House & Jing Zhang, 2012. "Layoffs, Lemons and Temps," NBER Working Papers 17962, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Hinrichs, Peter, 2011. "The effects of attending a diverse college," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 30(2), pages 332-341, April.
    3. Jahn, Elke J. & Rosholm, Michael, 2010. "Looking beyond the bridge: How temporary agency employment affects labor market outcomes," IAB Discussion Paper 201009, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    4. Sarah Hamersma & Carolyn Heinrich & Peter Mueser, 2014. "Temporary Help Work: Earnings, Wages, and Multiple Job Holding," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(1), pages 72-100, January.
    5. Werner Eichhorst & Michela Braga & Andrea Broughton & An de Coen & Henri Culot & Filip Dorssemont & Ulrike Famira-Mühlberger & Maarten Gerard & Ulrike Huemer & Michael J. Kendzia & Jakob Louis Pederse, 2013. "The Role and Activities of Employment Agencies," WIFO Studies, WIFO, number 46987.
    6. Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske, 2009. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-Wage Worker Advancement," NBER Chapters,in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 399-436 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Bart Cockx & Matteo Picchio, 2012. "Are Short-lived Jobs Stepping Stones to Long-Lasting Jobs?," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 74(5), pages 646-675, October.
    8. Giovanni S.F. Bruno & Floro E. Caroleo & Orietta Dessy, 2013. "Stepping stones versus dead end jobs: exits from temporary contracts in Italy after the 2003 reform," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 121(1), pages 31-62.
    9. Jahn, Elke J. & Rosholm, Michael, 2014. "Looking beyond the bridge: The effect of temporary agency employment on labor market outcomes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 108-125.
    10. Judith A. Cook & Jane K. Burke-Miller & Dennis D. Grey, 2015. "Impact of Contingent Work on Subsequent Labor Force Participation and Wages of Workers with Psychiatric Disabilities," Mathematica Policy Research Reports dc9fe635fb3940d6a5740964f, Mathematica Policy Research.
    11. Okudaira, Hiroko & Ohtake, Fumio & Kume, Koichi & Tsuru, Kotaro, 2013. "What does a temporary help service job offer? Empirical suggestions from a Japanese survey," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 28(C), pages 37-68.
    12. Andersson Joona, Pernilla & Wadensjö, Eskil, 2012. "A Price for Flexibility? The Temp Agency Wage Gap in Sweden 1998-2008," IZA Discussion Papers 6587, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    13. David H. Autor & Susan N. Houseman & Sari Pekkala Kerr, 2017. "The Effect of Work First Job Placements on the Distribution of Earnings: An Instrumental Variable Quantile Regression Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 35(1), pages 149-190.
    14. Susan N. Houseman & Carolyn Heinrich, 2015. "Temporary Help Employment in Recession and Recovery," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 15-227, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J48 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Particular Labor Markets; Public Policy
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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