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Occupation-Specific Human Capital and Local Labor Markets

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  • Jeffrey A. Groen

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    (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)

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    Abstract

    Most skills acquired through on-the-job training may be specific to an occupation and therefore transferable to some but not all firms. This paper explores the relationship between the size of the local market for an occupation-specific skill and job-training outcomes. The Stevens (1994) model of training predicts that as market size increases, job turnover increases and training becomes more general. I test these predictions using data on blue-collar workers and variation in market size across U.S. metropolitan areas. The empirical results support the theoretical predictions and the impacts are most relevant at low levels of market size.

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    File URL: http://www.bls.gov/ore/pdf/ec050020.pdf
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics in its series Working Papers with number 376.

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    Length: 45 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2005
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:bls:wpaper:ec050020

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    Keywords: on-the-job training; occupation; human capital; local labor markets; market size;

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    1. Simon, Curtis J, 1988. "Frictional Unemployment and the Role of Industrial Diversity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 103(4), pages 715-28, November.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1996. "Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. 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.
    4. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448, November.
    5. Gan, Li & Zhang, Qinghua, 2006. "The thick market effect on local unemployment rate fluctuations," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 133(1), pages 127-152, July.
    6. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
    7. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
    8. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:403-438 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. 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.
    10. Glaeser, Edward L & Mare, David C, 2001. "Cities and Skills," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(2), pages 316-42, April.
    11. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
    12. Dickins, William T, 1990. "Error Components in Grouped Data: Is It Ever Worth Weighting?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 328-33, May.
    13. Wheeler, Christopher H, 2001. "Search, Sorting, and Urban Agglomeration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 879-99, October.
    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. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
    16. 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.
    17. Diamond, Charles A & Simon, Curtis J, 1990. "Industrial Specialization and the Returns to Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 175-201, April.
    18. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
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