IS WORK EXPERIENCE REWARDED?
The work requirements embedded in recent welfare reforms reflect the assumption that any job is potentially a stepping stone to a better job. Academic research confirms that the average worker benefits from tenure and work experience, but it cannot, with any confidence, say the same for workers with below average education. Many less educated workers are trapped in dead-end jobs that do not lead to anything better, however long they work at them. Peter Gottschalk of Boston College has received a grant to investigate the rewards to experience, tenure, and job changes for less-educated workers. Gottschalk will use longitudinal data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation to construct wage and employment histories for less-educated workers over the first 24 to 40 months of their careers. As well as estimating the mean and distribution of returns to work experience, Gottschalk will discover whether less-educated workers are able to benefit from shopping around for jobs, or whether their interests are best served by sticking with a single employer.