Between Exclusion and Cumulative Advantage: Effects of Within-Organization Mobility on Inequality

Awarded Scholars:
Nathan Wilmers, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Project Date:
Sep 2019
Award Amount:
Project Programs:
Future of Work


Analyses of job mobility in case studies of single organizations or single occupations find that within-organization job changing is common and associated with stronger upward mobility than between-organization moves. However, the current debate about declining job mobility has focused primarily on employer-to-employer job switching. Does shifting job mobility from the market to the organization increase or decrease stratification in the job mobility process? Sociologist Nathan Wilmers will analyze two nationally-representative panel surveys of job switchers that include both between- and within-employer job changes: the Current Population Survey (CPS) and the restricted version of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). To validate the CPS/SIPP dependent coding measure, Wilmers fielded an original survey using Mechanical Turk asking individuals about their job mobility experiences. He asked about job title changes, promotions and demotions, all of which capture formal changes in job position; about whether respondents had changed tasks or changed projects, which capture fewer formal changes, but which could still be covered in the CPS/SIPP question probing “duties and activities” changes.


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