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CEP discussion paper

Landing The First Job: The Value of Intermediaries in Online Hiring


Online markets for remote labor services allow workers and firms to contract with each other directly. Despite this, intermediaries - called outsourcing agencies - have emerged in these markets. This paper shows that agencies signal to employers that inexperienced workers are high quality. Workers affiliated with an agency have substantially higher job-finding probabilities and wages at the beginning of their careers compared to similar workers without an agency affiliation. This advantage declines after high-quality non-affiliated workers receive good public feedback scores. The results indicate that intermediaries have arisen endogenously to permit a more efficient allocation of workers to jobs.


Christopher Stanton and Catherine Thomas

28 November 2014     Paper Number CEPDP1316

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This CEP discussion paper is published under the centre's Growth programme.