Professor of Entrepreneurship
Adolescence; Job Change; Social Sorting; Discrimination; Stigma; Drug Abuse;
Purpose: This paper tests whether adolescent counter-normative behaviors increase voluntary and involuntary job exits in young adults. This prediction extends the social sorting view of employment outcomes to cover concealable background characteristics, which has implications for involuntary mobility after entering the job.Methodology: The NLSY 1997 data are analyzed through survey-weighted Cox models of involuntary and voluntary job change. The key variables are adolescent use of alcohol and illegal drugs, and early sexual debut.Findings: The findings show that sex and use of drugs in the early teens increase involuntary job exits, controlling for current behaviors, but do not have discernible effects on voluntary job exits. The effects of adolescent behavior appear stronger in multi-establishment firms and for Hispanic and black individuals.Social Implications: The findings indicate that employee sorting of individuals based on background does not end at the point of hiring, but continues through post-hiring rates of job exit. The findings indicate differential treatment of employees as a function of stigmatized behaviors in the past, and thus reveal a form of discrimination that has not been investigated earlier.Value of the Paper: The findings in the paper provide support for a theoretical view of social sorting by the employer as a driver of job exits. It extends the scope of characteristics that may result in social sorting to those that are concealable at the point of hiring, and with consequences after hiring. Because these include adolescent behaviors that are stigmatized, it shows a new mechanism linking adolescent experiences with adult work outcomes.