NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Jamin Speer

University of Memphis

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NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2014Cashier or Consultant? Entry Labor Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success
with Joseph G. Altonji, Lisa B. Kahn: w20531
We analyze the early labor market outcomes of U.S. college graduates from the classes of 1974 to 2011, as a function of the economic conditions into which they graduated. We have three main findings. First, poor labor market conditions substantially disrupt early careers. A large recession at time of graduation reduces earnings by roughly 10% in the first year, for the average graduate. The losses are driven partially by a reduced ability to find employment and full-time work and partially by a roughly 4% reduction in hourly wage rates. Second, these effects differ by field of study. Those in majors with typically higher earnings experience significantly smaller declines in most labor market outcomes measured. As a result, the initial earnings and wage gaps across college majors widen by a...

Published:

May 2013Cashier or Consultant? Entry Labor Market Conditions, Field of Study, and Career Success
with Joseph G. Altonji, Lisa B. Kahn
in Labor Markets in the Aftermath of the Great Recession, David Card and Alexandre Mas, organizers
 
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