Job Quality and Economic Mobility: Potential Mechanisms, an Empirical Approach, and Directions for Research

Brief

Job Quality and Economic Mobility: Potential Mechanisms, an Empirical Approach, and Directions for Research

Abstract

A growing body of research identifies the importance of different aspects of job quality for a range of worker well-being outcomes. Whether jobs offer decent wages, provide adequate hours on predictable schedules, deliver retirement and health benefits, foster safe and respectful working conditions, and so on, matters for the financial and economic well-being, physical and mental health, and general happiness and satisfaction of workers. These aspects of job quality also potentially affect worker economic mobility such as by providing wages, benefits, or conditions that allow workers to become more productive, or opportunities to build human capital. In this brief, we build on this body of evidence to describe key mechanisms that may link job quality and economic mobility, conduct an illustrative empirical analysis to explore relationships between elements of job quality and economic mobility, and discuss directions for future research that might more precisely identify these relationships.

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