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The returns to general experience, job and occupational tenure: a study using Australian panel data

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This article uses Australian panel data for the years 2001–2009 to estimate returns to general experience, job and occupational tenure. We pay particular attention to issues of unobserved heterogeneity bias in our estimations. We find that both general experience and occupational tenure have statistically and numerically significant effects on wage outcomes, even after controlling for unobserved heterogeneity. Job tenure on the other hand only seems to matter in OLS regressions that do not control for heterogeneity biases. Once these biases are controlled for, only a modest effect from job tenure remains. The inclusion of occupational tenure in the estimating equation tends to negate even this modest job tenure effect. The only exception to this is for workers in large organizations. For these workers a small but statistically significant effect from job tenure remains, even once we have controlled for heterogeneity and included occupational tenure in the estimating equation. The results reported in this article have implications for the various theories of the labour market that predict upward-sloping wage-job-tenure profiles.

Keywords: J31; J41; earnings and panel data; human capital; labour market experience

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Economics, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, 2109, Australia 2: Freelance Researcher and Senior Research Fellow, Macquarie University, North Ryde, NSW, 2109, Australia

Publication date: June 23, 2014

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