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Inter-Industry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor

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  • Mark Bils
  • Kenneth J. McLaughlin

Abstract

We investigate whether a market-clearing model of the labor market is consistent with the cyclical upgrading of labor: workers tend to move to higher paying industries in expansions and to lower paying industries in contractions. By applying Roy's (1951) model of self-selection to industry fluctuations, we show that cyclical upgrading can be consistent with market clearing. Applying the model to inter-industry mobility patterns in panel data, we find data of substantial selection by comparative advantage. However, the panel data reveal a selection process that is consistent with cyclical upgrading. Thus the model does not simultaneously account for interindustry mobility in panel data and cyclical upgrading.

Suggested Citation

  • Mark Bils & Kenneth J. McLaughlin, 1992. "Inter-Industry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," NBER Working Papers 4130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4130
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    15. Heckman, James J & Sedlacek, Guilherme, 1985. "Heterogeneity, Aggregation, and Market Wage Functions: An Empirical Model of Self-selection in the Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 93(6), pages 1077-1125, December.
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