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


We conducted multiple spell analyses to examine exit rates out of low-wage jobs and reentry rates into the low-wage labor market. For each spell analysis, the sample contains an entry cohort of job, employment, or nonemployment spells that started during the panel period. Thus, an individual could contribute more than one spell to an analysis file.

Each analysis file contains one observation per month of the spell. We constructed a dependent variable that was set to zero in months when the spell was in progress, and to 1 when the spell ended (or in some analyses, to positive codes signifying the type of exit or reentry). The last observation for a spell corresponds to the month when the spell ended, or to the end of the panel period for spells that were still in progress at that time (that is, for right-censored spells). The analysis files also contain individual and job characteristics pertaining to the month in which the spell started that were used for the subgroup analysis.

Next, we discuss the various types of spells that we examined and the life table procedures that we used to estimate spell durations.

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