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Specificity of Occupational Training and Occupational Mobility: An Empirical Study Based on Lazear’s Skill-Weights Approach

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Author Info

  • Regula Geel

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Johannes Mure

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

    ()
    (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich)

Abstract

According to standard human capital theory firm financed training cannot be explained if skills are of general nature. Nevertheless, investments of firms into general training can be observed and there has been a large literature to explain this puzzle, mostly referring to imperfect labor market issues. In German speaking countries firms invest heavily into apprenticeship training although it is assumed to be general. In our paper, we study the question to what extent apprenticeship training is general at all. Our paper for the first time studies how specificity of training may be defined based on Lazear’s skill-weights approach. In our empirical part we use a unique German Qualification Survey, containing extensive information about the required skills at a workplace. We build occupationspecific skill-weights and find that the more specific the skill portfolio in an occupation is in comparison to the general labor market, the higher are the net costs firms have to bear for apprenticeship training in the respective occupations. At the same time, the more specific the skill requirements are in an occupation, the smaller is the probability of an occupational change during an employee’s entire career. Due to the new definition of occupational specificity, we thus find that apprenticeship training - formerly seen as general training - is very heterogeneous in its specificity.

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File URL: http://repec.business.uzh.ch/RePEc/iso/leadinghouse/0038_lhwpaper.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU) in its series Economics of Education Working Paper Series with number 0038.

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Length: 24 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iso:educat:0038

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Keywords: Mobility; Skill-weights; Occupational specificity; Apprenticeship training;

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References

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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 78-118, February.
  2. 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.
  3. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Thomas J. Kane & Dietmar Harhoff, 1997. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the U.S. labor market?," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 171-196.
  5. Euwals, Rob & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2001. "Why do Firms Train? Empirical Evidence on the First Labour Market Outcomes of Graduate Apprentices," CEPR Discussion Papers 2880, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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Cited by:
  1. Regula Geel & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Occupational Mobility Within and Between Skill Clusters: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Skill-Weights Approach," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0047, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  2. Goeggel, Kathrin & Zwick, Thomas, 2009. "Good occupation - bad occupation? The quality of apprenticeship training," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-024, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Paul Oyer & Scott Schaefer, 2010. "Personnel Economics: Hiring and Incentives," NBER Working Papers 15977, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Bublitz, Elisabeth, 2013. "Matching Skills of Individuals and Firms Along the Career Path," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79742, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  5. Kathrin Goeggel & Thomas Zwick, 2011. "Heterogeneous Wage Effects of Apprenticeship Training," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0062, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
  6. Hof, Stefanie & Strupler, Mirjam & Wolter, Stefan C., 2011. "Career Changers in Teaching Jobs: A Case Study Based on the Swiss Vocational Education System," IZA Discussion Papers 5806, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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