Do informal contacts increase labor market inequality? Social ties, job access and wages for the unemployed

TitleDo informal contacts increase labor market inequality? Social ties, job access and wages for the unemployed
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsOesch, D, von Ow, A
JournalLIVES Working Papers
Volume2015
Issue38
Pagination1-30
PublisherNCCR LIVES
ISSN2296-1658
Keywordsinformal contacts, job recruitment, social class, social networks, unemployment
Abstract

This paper analyzes, for a large sample of unemployed workers, who finds a job through a personal contact and how using a personal contact affects job quality. We argue that the distinction between work-related and communal contacts is decisive. Using a dataset for Switzerland which merges register data with a longitudinal survey of unemployed jobseekers, we find that work contacts are disproportionately used by privileged jobseekers: male mid-aged professionals and managers. In contrast, communal contacts act as search method of last resort; they are used by immigrants, the working class, the very young and elderly. Using a communal contact does not affect wages, but is associated with longer unemployment.

DOI10.12682/lives.2296-1658.2015.38