Suggested CitationSchmutte, Ian M. (2015). "Job Referral Networks and the Determination of Earnings in Local Labor Markets." Journal of Labor Economics. vol. 33 pp. 1-33.
Despite their documented importance in the labor market, little is known about how workers use social networks to find jobs and their resulting effect on earnings. I use geographically detailed U.S. employer-employee data to infer the role of social networks in connecting workers to jobs in high-paying firms. To identify social interactions in job search, I exploit variation in social network quality within small neighborhoods. Workers are more likely to change jobs, and more likely to move to a higher-paying firm, when their neighbors are employed in high-paying firms. Furthermore, local referral networks help match high-ability workers to high-paying firms.