Transitions through the Labor Market: Volume 46

Cover of Transitions through the Labor Market

Work, Occupation, Earnings and Retirement


Table of contents

(9 chapters)

Labor force transitions are empirically examined using Current Population Survey (CPS) data matched across months from 1996 to 2012 for Hispanics, African-Americans, and whites. Transition probabilities are contrasted prior to the Great Recession and afterward. Estimates indicate that minorities are more likely to be fired as business cycle conditions worsen. Estimates also show that minorities are usually more likely to be hired when business cycle conditions are weak. During the Great Recession, the odds of losing a job increased for minorities although cyclical sensitivity of the transition declined. Odds of becoming re-employed declined dramatically for blacks, by 2–4%, while the probability was unchanged for Hispanics.


This chapter analyzes the effects of introducing a graduated minimum wage in a model with optimal income taxation in which a government seeks to maximize social welfare. It shows that the optimal graduated minimum wage increases social welfare by increasing the low-productivity workers’ consumption and bringing it closer to the first-best. The chapter also describes how the graduated minimum wage in a social welfare optimum depends on important economy characteristics such as the government’s revenue needs, the social welfare weight of low-productivity workers, and the numbers and productivities of the different types of workers.


This chapter estimates a dynamic reduced-form model of intra-firm promotions using an employer–employee panel of over 300 of the largest corporations in the United States in the period from 1981 to 1988. The estimation conditions on unobserved individual heterogeneity and allows for both an endogenous initial condition and sample attrition linked to individual heterogeneity in demonstrating the relative importance of variables that influence promotion. The role of the executive’s functional area in promotion is considered along with the existence and source of promotion fast tracks. We find that while the principal determinant of promotions is unobserved individual heterogeneity, functional area has a high explanatory power, resulting in promotion probabilities that differ by functional area for executives at the same reporting level and firm. No evidence is found that an executive’s recent speed of advancement in pay grade has a positive causal impact on in-sample promotions after conditioning on the executive’s career speed of advancement, except for the lowest level executives the data. Fast tracks appear to largely result from heterogeneity in persistent individual characteristics, not from an inherent benefit in recent advancement itself.


This chapter studies the consequences of firm delayering on wages and the wage distribution inside firms. I consider a market-based tournament model with asymmetric information to endogenize firms’ delayering decisions. My model predicts that when the CEO becomes more productive, firms grow in size. When the CEO becomes sufficiently productive, firms delayer. After delayering, wages at all levels rise and the wage gap between the CEO and the laborers widens. These predictions capture the dynamic process of firms’ structure and size changes and match a set of empirical findings in recent studies that are not well explained by existing theories.


The purpose of this chapter is to assess the importance of individual social capital characteristics in determining wages, both directly through their valuation by employers and indirectly through their impact on individual occupational choice. We find that a person’s level of sociability and care for others works through both channels to explain wage differences between social and nonsocial occupations. Additionally, expected wages in each occupation type are found to be at least as important as a person’s level of social capital in choosing a social occupation. We make use of restricted 2000 Decennial Census and 2000 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey.


Using the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys (2003–2015), this chapter explores the relationship between the gender gap in math test scores and computer (digital devices) gaming, as a potential “swimming upstream” factor in the quest to close that gap. Using a decomposition based on a pooled hybrid specification, we attribute two to three points (from 13% to 29%) of the gender math gap to gender differences in the incidence and returns to intense gaming. The comparison of the negative versus positive girl-specific effects found for collaborative games versus single-player games suggest a potential role for gaming network effects.


A dynamic model of the evolution of health for those over the age of 50 is embedded in a structural, econometric model of retirement and saving. Effects of smoking, obesity, alcohol consumption, depression, and other proclivities on medical conditions are analyzed, including hypertension, diabetes, cancer, lung disease, heart problems, stroke, psychiatric problems, and arthritis. Compared to a population in good health, the current health of the population reduces retirement age by about one year. Including detailed health dynamics in a retirement model does not influence estimates of the marginal effects of economic incentives on retirement.

Cover of Transitions through the Labor Market
Publication date
Book series
Research in Labor Economics
Series copyright holder
Emerald Publishing Limited
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