hero working papers

Returns to Mobility in the Transition to a Market Economy

Number: 123
Year: 1997
Author(s): Tito Boeri (IGIER, Università Bocconi) and Christopher J. Flinn (New York University)

In spite of ongoing dramatic changes in labor market structure, we present statistical evidence that transitional economies display rather low worker flows across sectors and occupations. Such low mobility can be explained by low returns to job changes as well as by market segmentation in the allocation of job offers. We develop an econometric model which enables us to characterize intertemporal changes in probabilities of dismissal, remuneration, and offer arrival rates on the basis of information on observed transitions and wage payments. The model is estimated using data from the Polish Labor Force Survey. Our results indicate a significant degree of segmentation in the allocation of job offers, more stability in public sector versus private sector jobs, and little, if any, rewards to tenure and age in the private sector. These findings support explanations for low mobility in transitional economies, which are based on informational failures, notably that fact that job offers do not reach those who are most prone to take up jobs, and that moving from public to private enterprises is costly, especially for those with high levels of job tenure and labor market experience in the public sector.