Skip to main content

Life Cycle Wage and Job Changes


Evidence from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics shows that while the majority of job changers who state they were not fired or laid off choose jobs with wages that are higher than their previous jobs, a substantial proportion of these job changers choose jobs that have lower wages. A model is constructed that is consistent with workers choosing a career path that entails a job change to either a higher paying or lower paying job. In the model, a job consists of a tied wage and amenity package. Due to compensating wage differentials, higher wages are paid where other job amenities are unattractive. Given this, a worker chooses a career path that leads to a job change where the wage in the new job may be higher or lower than in the previous job, with the actual choice being determined by the rate of time preference.

JEL Classification: J0, J3, J6

Key Words: lifetime wage profile, occupation choice, job changes


Suggested citation: Nosal, Ed, and Peter Rupert, 2002. “Life Cycle Wage and Job Changes,” Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Working Paper, no. 02-12.

Upcoming EventsSEE ALL

  • 09.15.22

    FedUniversity: Internships at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

    Join us on September 15, noon to 1:00pm, to learn about the Cleveland Fed’s annual internship program.

  • 09.29.22

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022

    Inflation: Drivers and Dynamics 2022, co-sponsored by the Center for Inflation Research and the European Central Bank will take place on September 29-30, 2022 in Cleveland, OH.

  • 10.06.22

    Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland is sponsoring the Annual Conference on Real-Time Data Analysis, Methods, and Applications in Macroeconomics and Finance to be held in Cleveland, Ohio, at the Cleveland Reserve Bank on Thursday and Friday, October 6–7, 2022.

  • 11.07.22

    Women in Economics Symposium

    Join the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the Women in Economics Symposium, which aims to encourage women to pursue a career in economics by discussing the successful career paths of diverse economics professionals and raising awareness of diversity and inclusion in the profession.

  • 11.17.22

    2022 Financial Stability Conference: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland and the Office of Financial Research will host their 10th annual financial stability conference on November 17–18, 2022. This year’s conference is titled Financial Stability: Frontier Risks, a New Normal, and Policy Challenges.