Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?

[We’re pleased to welcome author Jaclyn Piatak of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Piatak recently published a paper in Public Personnel Management entitled, “Sector Switching in Good Times and in Bad: Are Public Sector Employees Less Likely to Change Sectors?,” which is free to read for a limited time. Below, Piatak reflects on the motivation for pursuing this research:]

PPM_72ppiRGB_powerpoint.jpgWhen working in the federal government (my first real job), I noticed the cubicle next to me was a revolving door of young people like me. I wondered what made people leave one federal agency for another, leave the federal government for a state or local government position, leave government work to work for a nonprofit organization (DC has many national headquarters), and above all leave public service to work in the for-profit sector.

As cliché as it may be, I entered public service to make a difference. This was my goal since being a political science undergrad through earning my graduate degrees to today, where I feel privileged as a professor to not only share my research and to serve the university and profession but also to train future government and nonprofit leaders.

I couldn’t help but wonder about people’s motivation for joining public service and how working in the government and nonprofit sectors affects them. This piece tackles one aspect, my original curiosity of the revolving cubicle: sector switching.

Were there any specific external events—political, social, or economic—that influenced your decision to pursue this research? After earning my MPP, I entered the workforce in 2007 so I saw the influence of the Great Recession not only at the federal government level, but also across the state agencies we were responsible for overseeing. Building upon my motivation for this research, I wondered how the recession impacted people’s employment decisions and outcomes across job sectors.

Were there any surprising findings? Research often examines government employment as a whole with little attention paid to how employment and employee behavior may vary across levels of government—federal, state, and local. I found only federal government and nonprofit sector employees are more likely to move into the for-profit sector during times of economic instability. Considering the federal government finding, we should take a closer look at the government sector as there may be important differences across levels of government.

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Understanding Vocational Education in Industrialized Countries

[We’re pleased to welcome Nuria Rodriguez-Planas. Nuria published an article in ILR Review in March  2015, entitled 14138116143_b385d032d2_z“A Road Map to Vocational Education and Training in Industrialized Countries” with co-authors Werner Eichhorst, Ricarda Schmidl and Klaus F. Zimmermann.]

Our contribution to the ILR Review was motivated by a background study of IZA contributing to the Worldbank’s World Development Report on Jobs in 2013. We started from the observation that young people have been among those most affected by the 2008/09 financial crisis and its aftermath in many world regions. While the recession led to steep increases in youth unemployment, policies aimed at stimulating labor demand do not fully tackle the root of the problem. Rather, we also need to understand the institutions governing the transition from school to work. Vocational education and training (VET) is often viewed as the silver bullet for the youth joblessness problem. In ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointthis article, we provide a better understanding of VET in industrialized countries, proposing a typology with three types of vocational systems: 1) vocational and technical schools, 2) formal apprenticeships, and 3) dual apprenticeship systems that combine school training with a firm-based approach. We first describe the strengths and challenges of each system. Then we review the evidence of the effectiveness of VET versus general education and the relative effectiveness of the different VET systems. In our view the results indicate that VET is a valued alternative beyond the core of general education and that the use of apprenticeships combined with institutional learning tends to be more effective than school-based VET. Hence, improving the performance of VET can be one element of a medium-run solution to difficult school-to-work transitions.

The abstract for the paper:

Young people have been among those most affected by the recent financial crisis. Vocational education and training (VET) is often viewed as the silver bullet for the youth joblessness problem. In this article, the authors provide a better understanding of VET in industrialized countries, proposing a typology with three types of vocational systems: 1) vocational and technical schools, 2) formal apprenticeships, and 3) dual apprenticeship systems that combine school training with a firm-based approach. They first describe the strengths and challenges of each system. They subsequently review the evidence of the effectiveness of VET versus general education and the relative effectiveness of the different VET systems. Results indicate that VET is a valued alternative beyond the core of general education and that the use of apprenticeships combined with institutional learning tends to be more effective than school-based VET.

You can read “A Road Map to Vocational Education and Training in Industrialized Countries” from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR ReviewClick here to sign up for e-alerts!

*Image attributed to UC Davis College of Engineering (CC)

*Werner Eichhorst is affiliated with IZA. Núria Rodríguez-Planas is affiliated with Queens College of CUNY and the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA). Ricarda Schmidl is affiliated with the University of Mannheim and IZA. Klaus F. Zimmermann is affiliated with IZA and Bonn University. We thank Costanza Biavaschi, Corrado Giulietti, Michael Kendzia, Alexander Muravyev, Victoria Finn, and Janneke Pieters for their input and support. Inquiries can be directed to nrodriguezplanas@gmail.com or Eichhorst@iza.org.

Labor Economics and May Day throughout the Year

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As in recent years, work and economic issues have been on the minds of citizens worldwide – and not just on May Day. Almost on a daily basis we’ve seen or read about the challenges faced by employers, employees, unions, policy makers, and governments worldwide. From debates over raising the minimum wage, to discussions of pay equity and discrimination, workplace health risk factors and health insurance, and more, labor and work concerns are affecting us all. On this week set aside to recognize the international labor movement, we are pleased to highlight key journals in Economics, Industrial Relations & Labor.

We invite you to enjoy access to the following journals through June 30th. Click here to access the trial.

NEW TO SAGE IN 2016: We are pleased to publish The American Economist, the official journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society in Economics. The American Economist publishes original research from all fields and schools of economic thought, written by young scholars and those who are teaching the next generation of economists, as well as experienced and prominent economists whose influence has shaped the discipline. We invite you to read a special collection of articles from Nobel Peace Prize winning authors here.

How Does Job Displacement Impact Heart Health?

[We’re pleased to welcome Paul Devereux of University College Dublin. Paul recently published an article in ILR Review entitled “Losing Heart? The Effects of Job Displacement on Health” with co-76765412_618a458105_zauthors Sandra E. Black of University of Texas, Austin and Kjell G. Salvanes of Norwegian School of Economics.]

The growth and decline of firms is a prevalent feature of market economies and it is important to understand the consequences for workers who are displaced. While a lot is known about earnings losses, less is understood about consequences for health. Norway provides an interesting laboratory in which to consider the effects of displacement on health because, due to the strong social safety net, the income losses from job displacement are much lower than in most other countries and so we can largely isolate the effects of stress and lower labor market participation. Job displacement increases stress, which is known to have negative effects on cardiovascular health, for instance through individual life-style changes (increased consumption of nicotine, alcohol and dietary changes), or changes in biological parameters (increase in cholesterol concentration and cortisol). ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointAdditionally, the lower employment rates post-displacement could have direct effects on health through affecting daily activities such as exercise or opportunities to smoke.

Consistent with our expectations of increased stress, we find that displaced workers are more likely to smoke than workers who maintain their employment. As a result, job displacement has a significant effect on markers for cardiovascular health. However, there is little evidence of effects of displacement on other measures of short-run health. Therefore, the results suggest that when the financial costs of displacement are very low, the health effects may also be muted. However, our smoking findings indicate that the psychic costs may still matter and may lead to unhealthy behaviors that are predicted to have adverse consequences on cardiovascular health in the long-run.

The abstract for the paper:

Job reallocation is considered a key characteristic of well-functioning labor markets, as more productive firms grow and less productive ones contract or close. Despite its potential benefits for the economy, however, costs that are borne by the displaced workers are significant. The authors study how job displacement in Norway affects cardiovascular health, using a sample of men and women who are predominantly in their early 40s. To do so, they merge survey data on health and health behaviors with register data on person and firm characteristics. The authors compare the health of displaced and non-displaced workers from five years before to seven years after displacement. Results show that job displacement leads to an increase in smoking behavior for both men and women but few other short-term health effects. These results are robust to a variety of specification checks.

You can read “Losing Heart? The Effects of Job Displacement on Health” from ILR Review free for the next two weeks by clicking here. Want to know all about the latest research from ILR Review? Click here to sign up for e-alerts!

During the month of April, you can access 1.5 million article across SAGE Publishing’s 940+ journals for free–how? Sign up here for free trial access!

*Heart monitor image credited to brykmantra (CC)

Sandra E. BlackSandra E. Black holds the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Centennial Chair in Economics and Public Affairs and is a Professor of Economics.  She received her B.A. from UC Berkeley and her Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University.  Since that time, she worked as an Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and an Assistant, Associate, and ultimately Professor in the Department of Economics at UCLA before arriving at the University of Texas, Austin in 2010. She currently is the Editor of the Journal of Human Resources, a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and a Research Affiliate at IZA.  Her research focuses on the role of early life experiences on the long-run outcomes of children, as well as issues of gender and discrimination. She is currently on leave to serve as a Member of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers.

Kjell G. Salvanes is a Professor at the Norwegian School of Economics. He is Joint Managing Editor for The Economic Journal, as well as a research fellow with CEPR, Statistic Norway and director of Center for Empirical Labor Economics (CELE). His work has been published in journals like Journal of Political Economy, Journal of Labor Economics, Journal of Public Economics, Journal of the European Economic Association and Review of Economics and Statistics.

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Paul J. Devereux is a Professor at the School of Economics, University College Dublin. Dr. Devereux did his PhD at Northwestern University and worked at UCLA before moving to UCD in 2005.

 

Working for a Living – Jobs, Employment, Labor, Economics

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Today is the day in the US when we give a shout-out to all those who labor.  The first Labor Day celebration in the U.S. took place in New York City on September 5th, 1882, and in 1894 the first Monday in September was designated a national holiday to commemorate the achievements and contributions of workers.  On this day we are pleased to highlight research from journals in Economics, Industrial Relations & Labor providing key insights into the world of work.

We invite you to enjoy access to the following journals through October 31st. Click here to access the trial.

COMING IN 2016: We are pleased to begin publishing The American Economist, the official journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society in Economics. The American Economist publishes original research from all fields and schools of economic thought, written by young scholars and those who are teaching the next generation of economists, as well as experienced and prominent economists whose influence has shaped the discipline.

May Day: Research has much to say about challenges in the workplace.

Work-word-dictionary

Work issues have often taken center stage this year. From debates over raising the minimum wage, to discussions of pay equity and discrimination, workplace health risk factors and health insurance, and more, labor and work concerns are on the minds of employers, employees, unions, policy makers, and governments worldwide. On this day set aside to recognize the international labor movement, we are pleased to highlight key journals in Economics, Industrial Relations & Labor.

We invite you to enjoy access to the following journals through June 30th. Click here to access the trial.

COMING IN 2016: We are pleased to begin publishing The American Economist, the official journal of Omicron Delta Epsilon, the International Honor Society in Economics. The American Economist publishes original research from all fields and schools of economic thought, written by young scholars and those who are teaching the next generation of economists, as well as experienced and prominent economists whose influence has shaped the discipline.

Don’t Miss Your Chance to Read ILR Review’s Symposium on Skill Shortages and Mismatches for Free!

ILR_72ppiRGB_powerpointThere’s still time to read ILR Review‘s Symposium on Skill Shortages and Mismatches for free! Are the complaints over the supply of education-related skills in the U.S. labor force warranted? Is skill mismatch delaying the United States economy’s return to health? Is vocational education actually effective at facilitating transitions into employment? These questions are explored in the Symposium.

From the introduction to the issue:

In recent years, some employers, researchers, and policymakers have raised concerns about a shortage of skilled workers in the United States. In some instances, the supposed shortage takes the form of poor literacy and numeracy skills among young people making the transition from school to work. In other cases, employers have complained about an insufficient supply of technically trained workers, while policymakers have voiced concerns about a dearth of students pursuing science, technology, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Related to possible shortages at the aggregate level is the potential problem of mismatches between the skills workers have and those demanded by firms. These concerns, if valid, have important implications for macroeconomic policy as well as for the long-run standard of living of U.S. workers.

On macroeconomics, some policymakers have suggested that the run-up in unemployment and the increase in long-term unemployment associated with the Great Recession were caused by an increasing degree of mismatch between the skills demanded by firms and those supplied by workers. This mismatch is one source of what is commonly known as structural unemployment and can in principle be remedied by increasing workers’ skills or by improving the labor market matching process. If much of the unemployment we have seen since 2008 is indeed structural, then there may be limits on the potential effectiveness of traditional fiscal and monetary policies for alleviating unemployment. Instead, investment in worker skills or in streamlining employment transitions (e.g., through increased geographic mobility or better information about jobs and worker skills) would be needed. Concerning the living standards of workers, if there is indeed a shortage of skilled workers, then investment in skills may have long-run payoffs that more than justify the cost of the investments and may raise living standards. Moreover, if there is substantial mismatch between workers’ skills and employers’ demands, then investment in the matching process may help the labor market work more efficiently. If, however, skill shortages and mismatches are not so important empirically, then there may be considerable scope for expansionary monetary and fiscal policies as tools to combat joblessness.

You can read the Symposium on Skill Shortages and Mismatches from ILR Review for free for the next 30 days. Click here to view the Table of Contents. Like what you read? Click here to sign up for e-alerts and have notifications of all the latest research from ILR Review sent directly to your inbox!