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The Analysis of Inter-Firm Worker Mobility

  • Henry S. Farber
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    I use a sample of over fourteen thousand full-time jobs held by workers in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) to examine mobility patterns and to evaluate theories of inter-firm worker mobility. The roles of both heterogeneity and state dependence in determining mobility rates for young workers are investigated, and both are found to be very important. There are three main findings. First, mobility is strongly positively related to the frequency of job change prior to the start of the job. Second, job change in the most recent year prior to the start of the job is more strongly related than earlier job change to mobility on the current job. Third, the monthly hazard of job ending is not monotonically decreasing in tenure as most earlier work using annual data has found, but it increases to a maximum at three months and declines thereafter. The first two findings suggest that there is important heterogeneity in mobility but that this heterogeneity is not fixed over time (workers might mature). The third finding is consistent with models of heterogeneous match quality that cannot be observed ex ante. I also find that females hold fewer jobs per year in the labor force than males and that this result is driven by a lower exit rate for females from the first job after entry.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4262.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4262.

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    Date of creation: Jan 1993
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    Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, October 1994, pp. 554-593.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4262
    Note: LS
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    1. Francine D. Blau & Larry M. Kahn, 1981. "Race and sex differences in quits by young workers," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 34(4), pages 563-577, July.
    2. Willis, Robert J., 1987. "Wage determinants: A survey and reinterpretation of human capital earnings functions," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & R. Layard (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 525-602 Elsevier.
    3. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
    4. Walter Y. Oi, 1962. "Labor as a Quasi-Fixed Factor," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 538.
    5. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Robert H. Topel, 1990. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," NBER Working Papers 3294, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Flinn, Christopher J, 1986. "Wages and Job Mobility of Young Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S88-S110, June.
    9. Lancaster, Tony, 1979. "Econometric Methods for the Duration of Unemployment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 47(4), pages 939-56, July.
    10. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jacob Mincer, 1986. "Wage Changes in Job Changes," NBER Working Papers 1907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Chamberlain, Gary, 1984. "Panel data," Handbook of Econometrics, in: Z. Griliches† & M. D. Intriligator (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 2, chapter 22, pages 1247-1318 Elsevier.
    13. James J. Heckman, 1981. "Heterogeneity and State Dependence," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 91-140 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Dale T. Mortensen, 1978. "Specific Capital and Labor Turnover," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 572-586, Autumn.
    15. Brown, James N & Light, Audrey, 1992. "Interpreting Panel Data on Job Tenure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 10(3), pages 219-57, July.
    16. Parsons, Donald O, 1972. "Specific Human Capital: An Application to Quit Rates and Layoff Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1120-43, Nov.-Dec..
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