Social Contacts and Occupational Choice

26 Pages Posted: 28 Dec 2009

See all articles by Samuel Bentolila

Samuel Bentolila

Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Claudio Michelacci

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Javier Suarez

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: April 18, 2008

Abstract

Social contacts help to find jobs, but not necessarily in the occupations where workers are most productive. Hence social contacts can generate mismatch between workers' occupational choices and their productive advantage. Accordingly, social networks can lead to low labour force quality, low returns to firms' investment and depressed aggregate productivity. We analyse surveys from both the US and Europe including information on job finding through contacts. Consistent with our predictions, contacts reduce unemployment duration by 1–3 months on average, but they are associated with wage discounts of at least 2.5%. We also find some evidence of negative externalities on aggregate productivity.

Suggested Citation

Bentolila, Samuel and Michelacci, Claudio and Suarez, Javier, Social Contacts and Occupational Choice (April 18, 2008). Economica, Vol. 77, Issue 305, pp. 20-45, January 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1527600 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0335.2008.00717.x

Samuel Bentolila (Contact Author)

Centro de Estudios Monetarios y Financieros (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain
+34 91 429 0551 (Phone)
+34 91 429 1056 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679
Germany

Claudio Michelacci

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain
+34 91 4290 551 (Phone)
+34 91 4291 056 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

Javier Suarez

Centre for Monetary and Financial Studies (CEMFI) ( email )

Casado del Alisal 5
28014 Madrid
Spain
+34 91 429 0551 (Phone)
+34 91 429 1056 (Fax)

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

European Corporate Governance Institute (ECGI)

c/o ECARES ULB CP 114
B-1050 Brussels
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.ecgi.org

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