The Consequences of Temporary Agency Employment for Low-Skilled Workers

Project Dates

01/01/2006 - 12/31/2008


This project supported research on the consequences of temporary help employment for low-skilled workers. Researchers analyzed a Michigan welfare-to-work program in which program participants were randomly allocated across service providers (contractors) with different job placement practices. Researchers surveyed contractors and used administrative program data linked with wage records data on all participants entering the program over a three-and-a half-year period. The findings raise questions about the incentive structure of many government employment programs that emphasize rapid placement of program participants into jobs and that may inadvertently encourage high placement rates with temporary help agencies.


Temporary Agency Employment: A Way Out of Poverty? David H. Autor, Susan N. Houseman. In Working and Poor: How Economic and Policy Changes Are Affecting Low-Wage Workers, edited by Rebecca M. Blank, Sheldon H. Danziger, and Robert F. Schoeni. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2006, pp. 312-337


Russell Sage Foundation

Subject Area

LABOR MARKET ISSUES; Employment relationships