Measuring Employer-to-Employer Reallocation

Shigeru Fujita, Giuseppe Moscarini, Fabien Postel-Vinay

NBER Working Paper No. 27525
Issued in July 2020
NBER Program(s):Economic Fluctuations and Growth

We revisit measurement of Employer-to-Employer (EE) transitions, the main engine of labor market competition and employment reallocation, in the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS). We follow Fallick and Fleischman (2004) and exploit a key survey question introduced with the 1994 CPS redesign. We detect a sudden and sharp increase in the incidence of missing answers to this question starting in 2007, when the U.S. Census Bureau introduced a change in survey methodology, the Respondent Identification Policy (RIP). We show evidence of selection into answering the EE question by both observable and unobservable worker characteristics that correlate with EE mobility. We propose a selection model and a procedure to impute missing answers to the key survey question, thus EE transitions, after the introduction of the RIP. Our imputed aggregate EE series restores a close congruence with the business cycle, especially with the onset of the Great Recession, exhibits a much less dramatic drop in 2008-2009 and a full recovery by 2016, and eliminates the spurious appearance of declining EE dynamism in the US labor market after 2000. We also offer the first evidence of the (large and negative) impact of the COVID-19 crisis on EE reallocation.

You may purchase this paper on-line in .pdf format from ($5) for electronic delivery.

Access to NBER Papers

You are eligible for a free download if you are a subscriber, a corporate associate of the NBER, a journalist, an employee of the U.S. federal government with a ".GOV" domain name, or a resident of nearly any developing country or transition economy.

If you usually get free papers at work/university but do not at home, you can either connect to your work VPN or proxy (if any) or elect to have a link to the paper emailed to your work email address below. The email address must be connected to a subscribing college, university, or other subscribing institution. Gmail and other free email addresses will not have access.


Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w27525

NBER Videos

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email:

Contact Us