Penalized or Protected? The Consequences of Non-Standard Employment Histories for Male and Female Workers

David S. Pedulla, University of Texas at Austin

Millions of workers are currently employed in positions that deviate from the full-time, standard employment relationship. Little is known, however, about how histories of non-standard employment – part-time work, temporary agency employment, and skills underemployment – shape workers’ future labor market opportunities. Drawing on original field- and survey-experimental data, this article examines three questions: 1) What are the consequences of having a non-standard employment history for workers’ future labor market opportunities?; 2) Do these consequences differ by gender?; and 3) What mechanisms account for these consequences? Results from the field experiment demonstrate that a history of non-standard employment is as scarring for workers as a year of unemployment. However, these consequences vary by the type of non-standard employment as well as by the gender of the worker. The survey experiment provides evidence that employers’ perceptions of workers’ human capital, competence, and commitment mediate the negative consequences of non-standard employment histories.

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Presented in Session 64: Labor Market Status and Income Inequality