June 2023

College Networks and Re-employment of Displaced Workers

Ben Ost, Weixiang Pan, and Douglas Webber


We provide the first evidence on the role of college networks in the re-employment of displaced workers. An extensive literature examines the consequences of layoffs, but the factors which facilitate re-employment are relatively under-studied. Using administrative data and a cross-cohort design, we find that network connections with actively-hiring employers increase the re-employment rate. This result is driven by re-employment at contact’s firms suggesting that a stronger network does not improve worker quality more broadly. These results suggest that college has the potential to improve employment outcomes beyond improved human capital and signaling.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2023.043

PDF: Full Paper

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Last Update: June 27, 2023