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The Dynamics of Dual-Job Holding and Job Mobility


  • Christina H. Paxson
  • Nachum Sicherman


This article concerns the incidence and dynamics of dual-job holding, and its link to job mobility. The first section presents evidence on patterns of dual-job holding, hours changes, and job mobility in the United States, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics and the Current Population Survey. The results indicate that most workers experience dual-job holding sometime during their working lives, and there is a great deal of movement into and out of dual-job holding. Mobility into and out of second jobs is associated with large changes in weekly and annual hours, and there is evidence that dual-job holding is prompted by hours constraints on the main job. The second section of the article turns to theories of dual-job holding. Much of the empirical literature on second jobs is motivated by a simple model of labor supply in which workers face upper constraints on main-job hours: a worker who would like to work more on his main job, but cannot, will take a second job provided the second-job wage is high enough. These models do not account for the fact that workers may also avoid hours constraints by finding new main jobs with higher hours. We develop a stochastic dynamic model of dual-job holding and job mobility in which decisions to take second jobs and/or change main jobs are made simultaneously. This model is consistent with our findings and provides new insights into the economics of dual-job holding and labor mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Christina H. Paxson & Nachum Sicherman, 1994. "The Dynamics of Dual-Job Holding and Job Mobility," NBER Working Papers 4968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4968
    Note: LS

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joseph G. Altonji & Christina H. Paxson, 1986. "Job Characteristics and Hours of Work," NBER Working Papers 1895, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Alan L. Gustman & Thomas L. Steinmeier, 1982. "Minimum Hours Constraints and Retirement Behavior," NBER Working Papers 0940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Krishnan, Pramila, 1990. "The Economics of Moonlighting: A Double Self-Selection Model," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 361-367, May.
    4. Linda Bell & Richard Freeman, 1994. "Why Do Americans and Germans Work Different Hours?," NBER Working Papers 4808, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dixit, Avinash, 1991. "Irreversible Investment with Price Ceilings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 541-557, June.
    6. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474.
    7. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    8. repec:pri:indrel:dsp01v692t621d is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Moffitt, Robert, 1984. "The Estimation of a Joint Wage-Hours Labor Supply Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(4), pages 550-566, October.
    10. Avinash Dixit, 1992. "Investment and Hysteresis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 107-132, Winter.
    11. Shulamit Kahn & Kevin Lang, 1987. "Constraints on the Choice of Work Hours: Agency vs. Specific-Capital," NBER Working Papers 2238, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • J63 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Turnover; Vacancies; Layoffs


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