Dead-End Jobs and Youth Unemployment: Comment
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Ehrenberg, Ronald G.
[Excerpt] Charles Brown has very ambitiously attempted to analyze whether the existence of "dead-end jobs" contributes to the youth unemployment problem. He assumes that the average rate of wage growth of individuals initially employed in an occupation and the proportion of these individuals who remain employed in the same industry for five years are both inversely related to the probability that individuals initially employed in the occupation find themselves in dead end-jobs. His basic methodological approach involves using data from the 1/100 sample of the 1970 Census of Population to calculate both of these variables for each three-digit occupation, merging these occupation-specific data into individual records from the 1973-75 Current Population Surveys, and then estimating equations in which the probability that an individual is unemployed at the CPS survey date is a function of the individual's personal characteristics and these occupation-specific variables. Conclusions are then drawn about the extent to which these occupation-specific variables influence young men's probabilities of being unemployed, of having voluntarily left their last job, and of having been laid off. The paper clearly represents a large commitment of time and effort and Brown should be commended for having undertaken it.
youth; unemployment; wage growth; dead-end jobs
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