Is Job Stability in the Us Falling? Reconciling Trends in the Current Population Survey and Panel Study of Income Dynamics

44 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 1999  

David A. Jaeger

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); University of Cologne - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute); University College London - CReAM - Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration

Ann Huff Stevens

University of California, Davis - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: July 1998

Abstract

Documenting trends in job stability over the past twenty-five years has become a controversial exercise. The two main sources of information on employer tenure, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Current Population Survey (CPS), have generally given different pictures of the degree of job stability in the U.S. economy. This paper examines whether the PSID and CPS yield systematically different results with respect to comparable measures of job stability. We find that there is little evidence in either data set of a trend in the share of employed individuals with one year or less of tenure. Both data sets do show an increase in the fraction of male workers aged 30 and over with tenure less than ten years beginning in the early 1990's. We find that the two data sets provide nearly identical results for the 1980's and 1990's while in the 1970's they give results that are somewhat less comparable. We argue that this is probably the result of changes in the CPS tenure question following the 1981 survey. The effects of this change and the choice of ending year and variable definition in PSID-based studies are the most likely explanations for the disparate findings in the literature.

Suggested Citation

Jaeger, David A. and Stevens, Ann Huff, Is Job Stability in the Us Falling? Reconciling Trends in the Current Population Survey and Panel Study of Income Dynamics (July 1998). NBER Working Paper No. w6650. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=119869

David A. Jaeger (Contact Author)

Ph.D. Program in Economics, City University of New York Graduate Center ( email )

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Ann Stevens

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