Moonlighting over the Business Cycle
Using data from the 1979 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, we examine the cyclicality of moonlighting by gender. We estimate a random effects Tobit model of moonlighting among working men and women and find that, while male moonlighting behavior does not fluctuate significantly with the business cycle, female moonlighting does. The cyclicality of female moonlighting has, nonetheless, varied over the course of the past 35 years. Female moonlighting seemed to behave counter-cyclically during much of the 1980s and early 1990s, confirming the popular media belief that moonlighting is more likely to occur during periods of economic distress. Yet, this counter-cyclical behavior disappears during the 1993-99 period to become pro-cyclical by the early twentieth century. The recent pro-cyclicality of female moonlighting supports the idea that female workers respond to a need for “just-in-time” employment following the economic upturn of the mid to late 1990s.
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