Temporary Help Service Workers: Employment Characteristics and Wage Determination




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    • *Department of Labor Studies and Department of Sociology, Tel Aviv University. The authors wish to thank Gideon Ferber and the THS company for making the data available to us, the Sapir Center for Development (Tel Aviv University) for financial support of this research, and Yasmin Alkalai for her assistance in computations. Thanks also to Jim Baron, Gideon Kunda, Jeffrey Pfeffer, Yehouda Shenhav and three anonymous referees for their comments on earlier drafts of this paper.


This paper studies temporary help service (THS) workers, a growing component of the secondary labor market. It analyzes two samples of workers in the same four clerical occupations-bookkeepers, typists, key-punch operators, and clerks. The two samples-one for workers employed via a large THS firm in Israel, the other for full-time, non-THS workers drawn from the 1983 Israeli Census-are compared for demographic and human capital characteristics, wage levels, and wage regressions. The results lead us to conclude that viewing THS workers as a homogeneous group of “secondary” workers is not warranted.