Characteristics of Low-Wage Workers and Their Labor Market Experiences: Evidence from the Mid- to Late 1990s


With the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), policymakers and researchers have recognized the importance of understanding the dynamics of the low-wage labor market and the economic opportunities in it. As large numbers of current and former recipients enter the low-wage labor market, it is important to understand issues related to job retention and mobility among low-wage workers, as well as their prospects for wage progression. While a number of researchers have examined issues related to the labor market experiences of workers in general, fewer studies have directly examined the labor-market experiences of low-wage workers. Moreover, these studies use data from the late 1980s and early 1990s but have not examined the situations of low-wage workers in more recent times. To learn how low-wage workers have fared in recent times, ASPEfunded this effort to provide a comprehensive profile of the characteristics and labor market experiences of low-wage workers since the passage of PRWORA. This study uses data from the 1996 longitudinal panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), which covers the period between late 1995 and early 2000. [250 PDF pages]

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