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Measuring the Specificity of Human Capital:a Skill-based Approach

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  • Kristjan-Olari Leping

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    (University of Tartu Pärnu College)

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    Abstract

    This article will construct a skill-based measure for human capital specificity. The measure is based on the possibilities of making use of skills on the labour market, which depends on the number of jobs where any particular skill is required. The assumption is that the specificity of human capital depends on the specificity of skills. In order to calculate the levels of specificity of different skills empirically, data from the skill requirements of vacant jobs are used. The validity of this measure is tested by using it as an estimator of the probability that on-the-job training is offered to employees. This article also investigates differences in the specificity of required human capital between different industries and occupations. The proposed job specificity measure can be used for planning public sector support to on-the-job training as companies’ decisions to pay for training depend on the specificity of human capital required.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies in its journal Baltic Journal of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 9 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (July)
    Pages: 39-54

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    Handle: RePEc:bic:journl:v:9:y:2009:i:1:p:39-54

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    Related research

    Keywords: human capital; skills; on-the-job training;

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    References

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    1. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1999. "From Physical to Human Capital Accumulation: Inequality in the Process of Development," Working Papers 99-27, Brown University, Department of Economics.
    2. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
    3. Ingram, Beth & Neumann, George, 1999. "An Analysis of the Evolution of the Skill Premium," Working Papers 99-08, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    4. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-23, April.
    5. Mortensen, Dale T, 1988. "Wages, Separations, and Job Tenure: On-the-Job Specific Training or Matching?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 445-71, October.
    6. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    7. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2003. "Human Capital and Skill Specificity," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20036, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
    8. Björn Frank, 2003. "Location Decisions in a Changing Labour Market Environment," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 380, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
    9. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
    10. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Firm-specific Capital and Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1246-60, December.
    12. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
    13. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
    14. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
    15. Uschi Backes-Gellner & Johannes Mure, 2005. "The Skill-Weights Approach on Firm Specific Human Capital: Empirical Results for Germany," Working Papers 0056, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU), revised Apr 2005.
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