Repeated Job Quits: Stepping stones or learning about quality?
Despite the fact that worker quits are often associated with wage gains and higheroverall job satisfaction, many workers quit once again within one or two years afterchanging jobs initially. Such repeated job quit behavior may arise as a steppingstone to better quality jobs (Burdett, 1978) or as a response to unexpectedly lowjob quality (Jovanovic, 1979).This paper tests the validity of both explanations using data from the UK labormarket in order to improve our understanding of job search behavior. Results frompanel estimations of job quits and job satisfaction illustrate that the labor market ischaracterized by elements of both explanations. More specifically, a variancedecomposition shows that the stepping stone model explains 80 percent ofrepeated job quit behavior; the remaining 20 percent is the result of learning aboutjob quality. Hence, workers appear to need several job quits to find their mostpreferred job and multiple job quits serve as a stepping stone to more satisfaction atwork.
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