On young people climbing the jobs ladder - A conversation with Catherine de Fontenay and Jeff Borland

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On young people climbing the jobs ladder – A conversation with Catherine de Fontenay and Jeff Borland

Young workers’ careers typically progress by climbing a ladder of job opportunities. But during a slowdown, young workers start on a lower rung and progress more slowly up the jobs ladder.

In this podcast, Commissioner Catherine de Fontenay from the Productivity Commission and Professor Jeff Borland from the University of Melbourne discuss recent research on youth incomes and explain the implications of their research for young people in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The PC has just completed two reports on youth incomes and the jobs ladder which can be found here:

Jeff Borland and Michael Coelli’s paper can be found here:

Also mentioned in the podcast were the following papers which are likely to be of interest to listeners:

McMillan J & Jones FL, The ANU3_2 scale: a revised occupational status scale for Australia, Journal of Sociology 36:1 (2000)

Ganzeboom HB et al, A Standard International Socio-Economic Index of Occupational Status, Social Science Research 21:1-56 (1992)

Kahn LB, The long-term labor market consequences of graduating from college in a bad economy, Labour Economics 17:303-316 (2010)

McDonald IM & Solow R, Wage Bargaining and Employment, The American Economic Review 71;5: 896-908 (1981)

Kalb G & Meekes J, Wage Growth Distribution and Decline among Individuals: 2001-2017, Conference Proceedings, Reserve Bank of Australia (2009)

About our speakers

Catherine de Fontenay is a Commissioner with the Productivity Commission.

Catherine has taught at the University of New South Wales and the University of Melbourne. She has held visiting positions at Stanford and the Stern School of Business, New York University. Most recently she was an Associate Professor of Economics at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne.

Her research has been published in a number of international journals, including the American Economic Review, the RAND Journal of Economics, and the Journal of Industrial Economics.

Jeff Borland is Truby Williams Professor of Economics at the University of Melbourne.

His main research interests are analysis of the operation of labour markets in Australia, program and policy evaluation and design, Australian economic history, and sports economics.

His current teaching is in the areas of microeconomics, sports economics, and Australian and world economic history. He is currently on the Board of Editors of the Journal of Sports Economics, and between 1998 and mid-2002 was Co-Editor and Editor of the Economic Record.

Jeff’s Labour Market Snapshots can be found here

Benedict Davies and Simone Wong
Economic Society of Australia (Vic) podcasters

: The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the podcast hosts only and do not reflect the views of their employers nor do they represent the views of the Economic Society of Australia.

Music - "Hard Boiled" by Kevin MacLeod (, Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0,

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