One Man’s Pain is Another Man’s Gain - Early Career Exposure and Later Labour Market Outcomes
November 11, 2021
This paper investigates whether early career exposure of unexperienced employees to employers affects their later career outcomes. The extent to which entry-level workers get to demonstrate their abilities is an important determinant of how precisely the employer can estimate their talent. A common difficulty in the literature is finding relevant measures of how often the employer observes an employee. To this end, I use high frequency worker-level data from the National Hockey League, where in-game playing time serves as the measure of exposure. I implement a novel instrumental variable strategy, exploiting co-worker injuries as a source of random variation in junior worker playing time. Co-worker injuries create vacant slots in team rosters, which are usually filled by junior workers, increasing their exposure. Consequently, there is a positive correlation between the number of co-worker injuries that occur and the number of playing opportunities that a junior worker gets during their entry-level career. Using co-worker injuries as an instrument, the results indicate that total entry-level career playing time significantly increases a junior worker’s likelihood of being rehired as well as their post entry-level salary.