This paper explores the wage and job dynamics of less-skilled workers by estimating a structural model in which agents choose among jobs that differ in initial wage and wage growth. The model also formalizes the intuitive notion that some of these jobs offer "stepping stones" to better jobs. The estimated model assumes that job offers consist of three attributes: an initial wage, an expected wage growth, and an indicator of the distribution from which future offers will come. We derive the conditions under which agents accept these offers and the effect of involuntary terminations on the acceptance decision. This model shows that the probability of leaving an employer depends both on the slope and intercept of the current and offered jobs and the probability of gaining access to the dominant wage offer distribution. We use the SIPP to estimate this model, which allows us to recover parameters of the wage offer distributions and the probability that a job is a stepping stone job. Our empirical work indicates that wage offer distributions vary systematically with the slope and intercept of wages in the current job and that there is a non-zero probability of being offered a stepping stone job.
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