October 2004

IZA DP No. 1357: Intermittent Employment: Work Histories of Israeli Men and Women, 1983-1995

This study examines the extent, duration and timing of employment breaks amongst a large representative sample of Jewish workers in Israel over the 13-year time period, 1983-1995. Work histories are constructed from a new joint database, unique in Israel, which was derived from a linkage of 1995 Population Census data with monthly employment records of the National Insurance Institute. The paper focuses on gender differences in work history patterns and, within each gender, breakdowns are provided by ethnic origin, marital status, age and education level. While most of the results are both expected and compatible with current economic theories of household behavior, some of the findings of the study are less expected, particularly those relating to the considerable amount of intermittent employment found amongst Israeli male workers. Also, women’s labor market attachment is stronger than is generally presumed. Gender differences in employment interruptions are greater for younger than older workers.