Does Employer Learning Vary by Occupation?
AbstractModels in which employers learn about the productivity of young workers, such as Altonji and Pierret (2001), have two principal implications: First, the distribution of wages becomes more dispersed as a cohort of workers gains experience; second, the coefficient on a variable that employers initially do not observe, such as the Armed Forces Qualification Test (AFQT) score, grows with experience. If employers' learning varies significantly across occupations, both of these indicators of learning should covary positively across groups defined by a worker's occupational assignment at labor market entry. This paper tests this implication of the employer learning model using data from the NLSY and CPS. I find that occupations with high growth in the variance of residual wages over the first ten years of the worker's career are also the occupations with high growth in the AFQT coefficient, confirming the learning perspective. Interestingly, occupations that my analysis characterizes as having a low level of employer learning are not occupations where employers know little about the worker after ten years of experience; instead they appear to be occupations where employers have already learned about the worker's AFQT score at the time of hire. I provide several pieces of evidence that occupational assignment affects the learning process independently from education and that the results are not driven by workers' occupational mobility.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research in its series Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin with number 1015.
Length: 41 p.
Date of creation: 2010
Date of revision:
Wage Dynamics; Occupational Choice; Earnings Inequality;
Other versions of this item:
- J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
- J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
- J71 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Hiring and Firing
- J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
You can help add them by filling out this form.
CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
- Light, Audrey & McGee, Andrew, 2012.
"Employer Learning and the "Importance" of Skills,"
IZA Discussion Papers
6623, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- NAKABAYASHI, Masaki, 2011. "Acquired Skills and Learned Abilities: Wage Dynamics in Internal Labor Markets," ISS Discussion Paper Series (series F) f153, Institute of Social Science, The University of Tokyo, revised 07 Feb 2014.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Bibliothek).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.