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The Complexity of Job Mobility Among Young Men

  • Derek Neal

The model of job search involves both employer matches and career matches and incorporates an asymmetry in the search technology. Workers may change employers without changing careers, but cannot search over possible lines of work while working for one employer. The optimal policy implies a two-stage search strategy in which workers search over types of work first. After finding a good match with a particular line of work, they then concentrate on finding an employer. The patterns of job changes observed in the NLSY provide considerable support for the two-stage search policy implied by the model. Among male workers who are changing jobs, those who have previously changed employers while working in their current career are much less likely to change careers during the current job change. This result holds even among workers with similar levels of career-specific work experience. Further, the link between experience and the complexity of job changes operates almost entirely through the two-stage mechanism identified in the model. Among those who are in the first stage (no previous intra-career moves) there is little relationship between experience and the complexity of job changes.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6662.

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Date of creation: Jul 1998
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, Vol. 17, no. 2 (April 1999): 237-261
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6662
Note: LS
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  1. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
  3. McCall, Brian P, 1990. "Occupational Matching: A Test of Sorts," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 45-69, February.
  4. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Firm-specific Capital and Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1246-60, December.
  5. Robert E. Hall, 1984. "The Importance of Lifetime Jobs in the U.S. Economy," NBER Working Papers 0560, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-120, December.
  7. Daniel Parent, 1995. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the NLSY and the PSID," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-26, CIRANO.
  8. Harhoff, Dietmar & Kane, Thomas J, 1996. "Is the German Apprenticeship System a Panacea for the US Labour Market?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1311, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  10. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
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