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Order from Chaos? The Effects of Early Labor Market Experiences on Adult Labor Market Outcomes


  • Rosella Gardecki
  • David Neumark


This paper examines the consequences of initial periods of churning,' floundering about,' or mobility' in the labor market to help assess whether faster transitions to stable employment relationships--such as those envisioned by advocates of school-to-work programs--would be likely to lead to better adult labor market outcomes. Our interpretation of the results is that there is at best modest evidence linking early job market stability to better labor market outcomes. We find that adult labor market outcomes (defined as of the late 20s or early to mid-30s) are for the most part unrelated to early labor market experiences for both men and women. This evidence does not provide a compelling case for efforts to explicitly target the school-to-work transition, insofar as this implies changing the structure of youth labor markets so that workers become more firmly attached to employers, industries, or occupations at

Suggested Citation

  • Rosella Gardecki & David Neumark, 1997. "Order from Chaos? The Effects of Early Labor Market Experiences on Adult Labor Market Outcomes," NBER Working Papers 5899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5899
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lisa M. Lynch, 1992. "Differential Effects of Post-School Training on Early Career Mobility," NBER Working Papers 4034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Charles C. Brown, 1982. "Dead-end Jobs and Youth Unemployment," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 427-452 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. David G. Blanchflower & Lisa M. Lynch, 1994. "Training at Work: A Comparison of U.S. and British Youths," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 233-260 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. David T. Ellwood, 1982. "Teenage Unemployment: Permanent Scars or Temporary Blemishes?," NBER Chapters,in: The Youth Labor Market Problem: Its Nature, Causes, and Consequences, pages 349-390 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. James Heckman, 1993. "Assessing Clinton's Program on Job Training, Workfare, and Education in the Workplace," NBER Working Papers 4428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1989. "Job Matching and On-the-Job Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
    7. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 2002. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 20(1), pages 88-97, January.
    8. Audrey Light & Kathleen McGarry, 1998. "Job Change Patterns And The Wages Of Young Men," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(2), pages 276-286, May.
    9. Griliches, Zvi, 1977. "Estimating the Returns to Schooling: Some Econometric Problems," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 45(1), pages 1-22, January.
    10. John Bishop, 1994. "The Impact of Previous Training on Productivity and Wages," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 161-200 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kahn, Lisa B., 2010. "The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 303-316, April.
    2. David Neumark & Mary Joyce, 2001. "Evaluating School-to-Work Programs Using the New NLSY," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 36(4), pages 666-702.
    3. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 563-595, July.
    4. Philip Oreopoulos & Till von Wachter & Andrew Heisz, 2006. "The Short- and Long-Term Career Effects of Graduating in a Recession: Hysteresis and Heterogeneity in the Market for College Graduates," NBER Working Papers 12159, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Liu, Kai & Salvanes, Kjell G. & Sørensen, Erik Ø., 2016. "Good skills in bad times: Cyclical skill mismatch and the long-term effects of graduating in a recession," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 3-17.
    6. Sergey Roshchin & Victor Rudakov, 2015. "Do Starting Salaries for Graduates Measure the Quality of Education? A Review of Studies by Russian and Foreign Authors," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 137-181.
    7. Stefan Bender & Till von Wachter, 2006. "In the Right Place at the Wrong Time: The Role of Firms and Luck in Young Workers' Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1679-1705, December.
    8. Bosley, Stacie A., 2004. "Dead-End Jobs Or Stepping Stones? The Long-Run Consequences Of Early Industry And Occupation," Working Papers 14301, University of Minnesota, The Food Industry Center.
    9. Bruce Chapman & Matthew Gray, 2002. "Youth Unemployment: Aggregate Incidence and Consequences for Individuals," CEPR Discussion Papers 459, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    10. Wozniak, Abigail, 2006. "Educational Differences in the Migration Responses of Young Workers to Local Labor Market Conditions," IZA Discussion Papers 1954, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    11. David Neumark, 1998. "Youth Labor Markets in the U.S.: Shopping Around vs. Staying Put," NBER Working Papers 6581, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Sarah Bridges & Louise Fox & Alessio Gaggero & Trudy Owens, "undated". "Labour Market Entry and Earnings: Evidence from Tanzanian Retrospective Data," Discussion Papers 13/05, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
    13. Umkehrer, Matthias, 2015. "The impact of changing youth employment patterns on future wages," IAB Discussion Paper 201531, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    14. Päällysaho, Miika Matias, 2017. "The Short- and Long-Term Effects of Graduating During a Recession: Evidence from Finland," Working Papers 96, VATT Institute for Economic Research.
    15. Umkehrer, Matthias, 2013. "Youth Employment Instability, True State Dependence and Adult Wage Inequality," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 80014, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    16. Simon Burgess & Carol Propper & Hedley Rees & Arran Shearer, 1999. "The Class of '81: The effects of early-career unemployment on subsequent unemployment experiences," CASE Papers 032, Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials


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