Waiting for Work
42 Pages Posted: 4 Jul 2004 Last revised: 3 Apr 2022
Date Written: June 1990
This paper explains upward job mobility and observed patterns of unemployment by skill as an economy recovers from a recession. Skilled unemployment is due to rational waiting by workers looking for long-term jobs when there is a "lock-in" effect. Lock-in occurs if the conditions in the labor market when a worker first accepts a job have a persistent effect on wages. Using longitudinal data, we provide empirical evidence of the cyclical pattern of wages predicted by the theory and also of lock-in.
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