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Skill Obsolescence, Vintage Effects and Changing Tasks

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  • Simon Janßen
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

Abstract

Human capital is no doubt one of the most important factors for future economic growth and well-being. However, human capital is also prone to becoming obsolete over time. Skills that have been acquired at one point in time may perfectly match the skill requirements at that time but may become obsolete as time goes by. Thus, in the following paper, we study the depreciation processes of the human capital of workers performing different types of tasks with different skill requirements over a period of more than twenty years. We argue that two types of tasks must be distinguished: knowledge-based tasks and experience-based tasks. Knowledge-based tasks demand skills depending on the actual stock of technological knowledge in a society whereas experience-based tasks demand skills depending on personal factors and individual experience values. We show, by applying Mincer regressions on four different cross sections, that the human capital of people performing knowledge-based tasks suffers more from depreciation than the human capital of individuals performing experience-based tasks.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Duncker & Humblot, Berlin in its journal Applied Economics Quarterly.

Volume (Year): 55 (2009)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 83-103

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Handle: RePEc:aeq:aeqaeq:v55_y2009_i1_q1_p83-103

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Keywords: Human Capital; Skills; Mincer regressions;

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References

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  1. Taylor, J Edward & et al, 2003. "The Economics of Ecotourism: A Galapagos Islands Economy-Wide Perspective," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 51(4), pages 977-97, July.
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Cited by:
  1. Simone Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Time - Even More Costly Than Money: Training Costs of Workers and Firms," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0046, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Nathalie Greenan & Mathieu NARCY & Stéphane Robin, 2013. "Changements dans les entreprises et accès des seniors à la formation continue : une comparaison entre les années 1990 et 2000," Working Papers halshs-00965730, HAL.
  3. Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2014. "Benefits of Apprenticeship Training and Recent Challenges Ð Empirical Results and Lessons from Switzerland and Germany," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0097, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).

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