Careers, Labor Market Structure, and Socioeconomic Achievement

Spilerman, Seymour

The objective of this paper is to develop the notion of the career as a strategic link between structural features of the labor market and the socioeconomic attainments of individuals. In the first section we review the treatment of careers in the occupational sociology literature and consider limitations of the traditional conceptualization. In the second section the main features of career lines, their structures and reward trajectories, are described. In conjunction with this discussion, the virtues and drawbacks of several strategies for delineating career lines from empirical data are addressed. In the next section we sketch the determinants of career-line structures as they reside in industry organization and labor market composition. In the concluding pages we consider the implications of a labor market overlaid with career lines for investigations of the socioeconomic-achievement process.


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American Journal of Sociology

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September 9, 2013