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Returns to Skills and Personnel Management: U.S. DoD Scientists and Engineers

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  • Gibbs, Michael

    ()
    (University of Chicago)

Abstract

Personnel records are used to examine compensation, recruitment, and retention of a group of very highly skilled workers: civilian scientists and engineers in U.S. Department of Defense laboratories. In contrast to the private sector, returns to skills were largely flat for this group from 1982-1996. Despite this, quality and performance of recruits relative to earlier cohorts, and of those retained relative to those who left, remained stable. One explanation is the importance of defense-industry-specific human capital. These results hold for three different pay plans, including the federal government’s primary plan and two intended to introduce greater flexibility in personnel management.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 1539.

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Length: 30 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: Economic Inquiry, 2006, 44(2), 199-214
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp1539

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Keywords: returns to skills; personnel; workforce quality;

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References

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  1. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
  2. Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B., 1991. "Chances In The Structure Of Wages In The Public And Private Sectors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research 1547, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. Michael Gibbs & Wallace Hendricks, 2004. "Do formal salary systems really matter?," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 58(1), pages 71-93, October.
  4. Louis S. Jacobson & Robert J. LaLonde & Daniel G. Sullivan, 1992. "Earnings losses of displaced workers," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago 92-28, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  5. repec:fth:prinin:282 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. Baker, George & Gibbs, Michael & Holmstrom, Bengt, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919, November.
  7. Beaudry, Paul & DiNardo, John, 1991. "The Effect of Implicit Contracts on the Movement of Wages over the Business Cycle: Evidence from Micro Data," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(4), pages 665-88, August.
  8. Levy, Frank & Murnane, Richard J, 1992. "U.S. Earnings Levels and Earnings Inequality: A Review of Recent Trends and Proposed Explanations," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(3), pages 1333-81, September.
  9. George J. Borjas, 2002. "The Wage Structure and the Sorting of Workers into the Public Sector," NBER Working Papers 9313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "A Reexamination of the Federal-Private Wage Differential in the United States," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 270-93, April.
  11. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  12. Jaewoo Ryoo & Sherwin Rosen, 2004. "The Engineering Labor Market," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(S1), pages S110-S140, February.
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