Ausmass und Struktur arbeitnehmerinduzierter Abstiegsmobilität
Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie 58.2006: 573-591
Keywords: job mobility, downward mobility, earnings mobility, work conditions, voluntary job mobility

##Voluntary downward mobility in Western Germany
This study analyses the extent and determinants of voluntary downward earnings mobility in western Germany using data from the German socio-economic panel. The findings show that about one in five voluntary job shifters undergo a downward earnings shift. These downward earnings shifts are often accompanied by a reduction of working time. However, the earnings reduction does not solely result from reduced working hours, but also from shifts to less demanding jobs. Unlike upward shifters, downward shifters experience an improvement in their working situation concerning the work load and the flexibility of working hours, indicating that a significant number of workers may trade lower pay for better working conditions. This paper argues that the assessment of the quality of voluntary job shifts should take into account not only extrinsic job rewards, such as pay and prestige, but also non-pecuniary job characteristics. The results of our research challenge the practice of equating downward earnings mobility with involuntary job shifts, which can be found in many sociological studies of job mobility.##