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Low-wage careers: are there dead-end firms and dead-end jobs?

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  • Mosthaf, Alexander
  • Schnabel, Claus
  • Stephani, Jens

Abstract

Using representative linked employer-employee data of the German Federal Employment Agency, this paper shows that just one out of seven full-time employees who earned low wages (i.e. less than two-thirds of the median wage) in 1998/99 was able to earn wages above the low-wage threshold in 2003. Bivariate probit estimations with endogenous selection indicate that upward wage mobility is higher for younger and better qualified low-wage earners, whereas women are substantially less successful. We show that the characteristics of the employing firm also matter for low-wage earners’ probability of escaping low-paid work. In particular small plants and plants with a high share of low-wage earners often seem to be dead ends for low-wage earners. The likelihood of leaving the low-wage sector is also low when staying in unskilled and skilled service occupations and in unskilled commercial and administrational occupations. Consequently, leaving these dead-end plants and occupations appears to be an important instrument for achieving wages above the low-wage threshold.

Suggested Citation

  • Mosthaf, Alexander & Schnabel, Claus & Stephani, Jens, 2010. "Low-wage careers: are there dead-end firms and dead-end jobs?," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 01/2010, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:iwqwdp:012010
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lorenzo Cappellari & Stephen P. Jenkins, 2004. "Modelling Low Pay Transition Probabilities, Accounting for Panel Attrition, Non-Response, and Initial Conditions," CESifo Working Paper Series 1232, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Stewart, Mark B & Swaffield, Joanna K, 1999. "Low Pay Dynamics and Transition Probabilities," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 66(261), pages 23-42, February.
    3. Lorenzo Cappellari, 2007. "Earnings mobility among Italian low-paid workers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 20(2), pages 465-482, April.
    4. Bernd Görzig & Martin Gornig & Axel Werwatz, 2004. "Ostdeutschland: strukturelle Niedriglohnregion?," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 71(44), pages 685-691.
    5. Uhlendorff, Arne, 2006. "From No Pay to Low Pay and Back Again? A Multi-State Model of Low Pay Dynamics," IZA Discussion Papers 2482, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Schank Thorsten & Schnabel Claus & Stephani Jens, 2009. "Geringverdiener: Wem und wie gelingt der Aufstieg? / Low-Wage Earners: Who Manages to Reach Higher Wage Levels?," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 229(5), pages 584-614, October.
    7. Cappellari, Lorenzo, 2002. " Do the 'Working Poor' Stay Poor? An Analysis of Low Pay Transitions in Italy," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 64(2), pages 87-110, May.
    8. Sven Jung & Claus Schnabel, 2011. "Paying More than Necessary? The Wage Cushion in Germany," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 25(2), pages 182-197, June.
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    10. Iris Koch & Holger Meinken, 2004. "The Employment Panel of the German Federal Employment Agency," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 124(2), pages 315-325.
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    Cited by:

    1. Schnitzlein, Daniel D., 2012. "How important is cultural background for the level of intergenerational mobility?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 114(3), pages 335-337.
    2. Tinkl, Fabian, 2010. "A note on Hadamard differentiability and differentiability in quadratic mean," FAU Discussion Papers in Economics 08/2010, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Institute for Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    low-wage employment; wage mobility; Germany;

    JEL classification:

    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • J60 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - General

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