Wages, Nonwage Job Characteristics, and Labor Mobility
NBER Working Paper No. 552
This paper examines the impact of a set of nonwage job characteristics on the quit decisions of young and middle-aged men. The empirical analysis shows that young men are less likely to quit "physical" jobs or jobs with bad working conditions but are more likely to quit repetitive jobs. Older men, however, are more likely to quit jobs with physical requirements or bad physical conditions but are less likely to quit repetitious jobs. After they quit, young men experience an increase in the physical components of the job and a decline in repetitiveness while exactly the opposite holds for the older men. It was shown that the age differences in the impacts of the nonwage attributes could be explained by the fact that young men place greater weight on wage growth opportunities in the job and in the physically demanding jobs there are good opportunities for wage growth, while in the repetitive jobs, wage growth is slow. The finding that young workers want to move into jobs that are simultaneously perceived by older workers to be undesirable indicates how opportunities for mobility can improve an economy's productivity.
Published: Bartel, Ann P. "Wages, Nonwage Job Characteristics, and Labor Mobility." Industrial and Labor Relations Review, Vol. 35, No. 4, (1982), pp. 578-589.