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The emergent contingent workforce

  • Author(s): Wallace, Leslie Renee
  • et al.

This dissertation focuses on the labor supply decisions of temporary workers in order to determine who these workers are, the welfare of these workers and if their choice of employment is a result of their preferences or of labor market constraints. In Chapter 1 I summarize the existing literature and outline the direction of my future research in this area. Chapter 2 uses cross-sectional data from the Current Population Survey for 1985 and 1995, and looks at the changes in earnings and composition of the temporary labor force between 1985 and 1995. I find among other things that 1) the wage differential between temporary and non-temporary workers has narrowed over the ten-year period, 2) the composition of the temporary labor force has changed; there has been an influx of Latinos, Blacks and other racial minorities entering the temp sector and, 3) there is evidence that the temporary labor market is becoming more organized in terms of firms specializing and offering non-pecuniary benefits in order to recruit, attract, and retain workers. In Chapter 3, I use the May 1985 Current Population Survey: Work Schedules, Multiple Jobholding and Premium Pay (CPS) to examine the preferences of workers for more hours, fewer hours or the same number of hours from the benchmark of the number of hours they currently work. I find strong evidence that contingent workers are significantly more likely to desire more hours than they currently can obtain, even after conditioning on a fairly full set of personal and job characteristics. In the Chapter 4 I use the NLSY79 to examine from the change from regular to contingent employment and vice versa, on family earnings. Since contingent employment is an increasingly common means of securing employment, it is important to understand whether the change in job status stated above adversely affects the economic outcome of the family unit. Results show that family earnings are adversely affected by the change in work status from regular to contingent employment although the spouse mitigates this through compensatory spousal contributions

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