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Why Employers Use Flexible Staffing Arrangements: Evidence from an Establishment Survey

This paper examines which employers use flexible staffing arrangements, why they use these arrangements, and their implications for workers and public policy, drawing on a nationally representative survey of private sector establishments. Use of flexible staffing arrangements -- including temporary help agency, short-term, on-call, regular part-time, and contract workers -- is widespread and two-thirds of employers believe this use will increase in the near future. Traditional reasons concerning the need to accommodate fluctuations in workload or absences in staff are the most commonly cited reasons for using all types of flexible staffing arrangements. Many employers also use agency temporaries and part- time workers to screen candidates for regular positions. Finally, savings on benefits costs is an important factor determining employers' use of flexible staffing arrangements. Workers in flexible staffing arrangements typically are not covered by regulations governing benefits, and they typically do not receive key benefits, like pension benefits and health insurance, when these benefits are offered to regular full-time workers.

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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 snh2001.

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Handle: RePEc:upj:weupjo:snh2001
Note: Appears in Industrial and Labor Relations Review 55(1): 149-170
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  1. Katharine G. Abraham & Susan K. Taylor, 1993. "Firms' Use of Outside Contractors: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Murphy, Kevin M & Topel, Robert H, 1985. "Estimation and Inference in Two-Step Econometric Models," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 3(4), pages 370-79, October.
  3. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, . "Inter-Industry and Inter-Region Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," Working Papers 9504, SELAPO Center for Human Resources.
  4. Lettau, Michael K., 1997. "Compensation in part-time jobs versus full-time jobs What if the job is the same?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 101-106, September.
  5. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  6. Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "The Evolution of Unjust-Dismissal Legislation in the United States," NBER Working Papers 3127, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. 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.
  8. David H. Autor, 2000. "Outsourcing at Will: Unjust Dismissal Doctrine and the Growth of Temporary Help Employment," NBER Working Papers 7557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Lewis Segal & Daniel Sullivan, 1996. "The growth of temporary services work," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-96-26, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  10. Garth Mangum & Donald Mayall & Kristin Nelson, 1985. "The Temporary Help Industry: A Response to the Dual Internal Labor Market," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 38(4), pages 599-611, July.
  11. Katharine G. Abraham, 1988. "Flexible Staffing Arrangements and Employers' Short-Term Adjustment Strategies," NBER Working Papers 2617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Anne E. Polivka & Stephen M. Miller, 1998. "The CPS after the Redesign: Refocusing the Economic Lens," NBER Chapters, in: Labor Statistics Measurement Issues, pages 249-289 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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