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

Authors
Disciplines
  • Mathematics

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 administrative occupations. Consequently, leaving these dead-end plants and occupations appears to be an important instrument for achieving wages above the low-wage threshold." (Author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))

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