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The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement

We examine the effects of temporary help service employment on later earnings and employment for individuals participating in three federal programs providing supportive services to those facing employment difficulties. The programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, whose participants are seriously disadvantaged; a job training program with a highly heterogeneous population of participants; and employment exchange services, whose participants consist of Unemployment Insurance claimants and individuals seeking assistant in obtaining employment. We undertake our analyses for two periods: the late 1990s, a time of very strong economic growth, and shortly after 2000, a time of relative stagnation. Our results suggest that temporary help service firms may facilitate quicker access to jobs for those seeking employment assistance and impart substantial benefits as transitional employment, especially for individuals whose alternatives are severely limited. Those who do not move out of temporary help jobs, however, face substantially poorer prospects, and we observe that nonwhites are more likely than whites to remain in THS positions in the two years following program participation. Our results are robust to program and time period.

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File URL: http://economics.missouri.edu/working-papers/2007/wp0719_mueser.pdf
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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Missouri in its series Working Papers with number 0719.

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Length: 87 pages
Date of creation: 15 Oct 2007
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in Labor Market Intermediaries, edited by D. Autor. Cambridge, Mass: National Bureau of Economic Research, 2009
Handle: RePEc:umc:wpaper:0719
Contact details of provider: Postal: 118 Professional Building, Columbia, MO 65211
Phone: (573) 882-0063
Fax: (573) 882-2697
Web page: http://economics.missouri.edu/

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  1. William E. Even & David A. Macpherson, 2004. "The Wage and Employment Dynamics of Minimum Wage Workers," Labor and Demography 0404007, EconWPA.
  2. Julia Lane & Kelly S. Mikelson & Pat Sharkey & Doug Wissoker, 2003. "Pathways to work for low-income workers: The effect of work in the temporary help industry," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(4), pages 581-598.
  3. J. Ignacio García-Pérez & Fernando Muñoz-Bullón, 2005. "Temporary Help Agencies and Occupational Mobility," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 67(2), pages 163-180, 04.
  4. Susan N. Houseman & Arne L. Kalleberg & George A. Erickcek, . "The Role of Temporary Agency Employment in Tight Labor Markets," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles snhakge2003, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  5. Andrew Dyke & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Kyung-Seong Jeon, 2006. "The Effects of Welfare-to-Work Program Activities on Labor Market Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(3), pages 567-608, July.
  6. Peter R. Mueser & Carolyn J. Heinrich & Kenneth Troske, 2003. "Welfare to Temporary Work: Implications for Labor Market Outcomes," Working Papers 0308, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  7. Joseph G. Altonji & Todd E. Elder & Christopher R. Taber, 2005. "Selection on Observed and Unobserved Variables: Assessing the Effectiveness of Catholic Schools," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(1), pages 151-184, February.
  8. Antoni, Manfred & Jahn, Elke J., 2006. "Do changes in regulation affect employment duration in temporary work agencies?," Discussion Papers 44, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  9. Gagliarducci, Stefano, 2005. "The dynamics of repeated temporary jobs," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 12(4), pages 429-448, August.
  10. V. Joseph Hotz & Guido W. Imbens & Jacob A. Klerman, 2006. "Evaluating the Differential Effects of Alternative Welfare-to-Work Training Components: A Re-Analysis of the California GAIN Program," NBER Working Papers 11939, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Susan N. Houseman & Anne E. Polivka, 1999. "The Implications of Flexible Staffing Arrangements for Job Stability," Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles 99-56, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.
  12. David H. Autor & Susan Houseman, 2005. "Do Temporary Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for Low-Skilled Workers? Evidence from 'Work First'," NBER Working Papers 11743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Alison L. Booth & Marco Francesconi & Jeff Frank, 2002. "Temporary Jobs: Stepping Stones Or Dead Ends?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(480), pages F189-F213, June.
  14. Michael Kvasnicka, 2005. "Does Temporary Agency Work Provide a Stepping Stone to Regular Employment?," SFB 649 Discussion Papers SFB649DP2005-031, Sonderforschungsbereich 649, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany.
  15. Heckman, James J. & Lalonde, Robert J. & Smith, Jeffrey A., 1999. "The economics and econometrics of active labor market programs," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 31, pages 1865-2097 Elsevier.
  16. Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2005. "Temporary Employment Experiences of Women on Welfare," Journal of Labor Research, Transaction Publishers, vol. 26(2), pages 335-350, January.
  17. Fredrik Andersson & Harry J. Holzer & Julia Lane, 2009. "Temporary Help Agencies and the Advancement Prospects of Low Earners," NBER Chapters, in: Studies of Labor Market Intermediation, pages 373-398 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Lewis M. Segal & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1997. "The Growth of Temporary Services Work," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 117-136, Spring.
  19. LaDonna Pavetti & Michelle Derr & Jacquelyn Anderson & Carole Trippe & Sidnee Paschal, 2000. "The Role of Intermediaries in Linking TANF Recipients With Jobs," Mathematica Policy Research Reports 5f3004cdaef34d17a1f8de917, Mathematica Policy Research.
  20. Peter R. Mueser & Kenneth R. Troske & Carolyn J. Heinrich, 2007. "The Role of Temporary Help Employment in Low-wage Worker Advancement," Working Papers 0719, Department of Economics, University of Missouri.
  21. Orley Ashenfelter & David Card, 1984. "Using the Longitudinal Structure of Earnings to Estimate the Effect of Training Programs," NBER Working Papers 1489, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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