This paper uses Italian panel data to analyse transition probabilities at the bottom of the earnings distribution during the 1990s. The analytical framework is characterised by the ability to account for the endogeneity of initial conditions, educational attainment and earnings attrition, providing a model that encompasses those applied by previous research. Results show that the three selection mechanisms are endogenous for the estimation of low pay transitions. The data also reveal considerable state dependence, i.e. the experience of low pay is found to raise, per se, the probability of subsequent low pay episodes. Low pay persistence and entry rates are found to be larger among female employees, the low educated, manual workers in small firms and workers from the South relative to otherwise comparable individuals.