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Do Temporary-Help Jobs Improve Labor Market Outcomes for Low-Skilled Workers? Evidence from 'Work First'

  • David Autor

    ()

    (MIT and NBER)

  • Susan Houseman

    ()

    (W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research)

Temporary-help jobs offer rapid entry into paid employment, but they are typically brief and it is unknown whether they foster longer-term employment. We utilize the unique structure of Detroit's welfare-to-work program to identify the effect of temporary-help jobs on labor market advancement. Exploiting the rotational assignment of welfare clients to numerous nonprofit contractors with differing job placement rates, we find that temporary-help job placements do not improve and may diminish subsequent earnings and employment outcomes among participants. In contrast, job placements with direct-hire employers substantially raise earnings and employment over a seven quarter follow-up period.

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Paper provided by W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in its series Upjohn Working Papers and Journal Articles with number 05-124.

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Date of creation: Aug 2009
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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:05-124
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