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A Product Market Theory of Worker Training

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Author Info

  • Gersbach, Hans

    ()
    (ETH Zurich)

  • Schmutzler, Armin

    ()
    (University of Zurich)

Abstract

We develop a product market theory that explains why firms invest in general training of their workers. We consider a model where firms first decide whether to invest in general human capital, then make wage offers for each others’ trained employees and finally engage in imperfect product market competition. Equilibria with and without training, and multiple equilibria can emerge. If competition is sufficiently soft and trained workers are substitutes, firms may invest in non-specific training if others do the same, because they would otherwise suffer a competitive disadvantage or need to pay high wages in order to attract trained workers. Government intervention can be socially desirable to turn training into a focal equilibrium.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 327.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Product markets and industry-specific training" in: The RAND Journal of Economics, 2012, 43 (3), 475-491
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp327

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Keywords: General training; human capital; oligopoly; turnover;

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References

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  1. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 445-64, July.
  2. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," NBER Working Papers 6357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Hans Gersbach & Armin Schmutzler, 2002. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," SOI - Working Papers 0214, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich, revised Jan 2003.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Lars Vilhuber, 1997. "Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-42, CIRANO.
  6. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann, 2006. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: on the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 903-923, October.
  7. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  8. Hans Gersbach & Armin Schmutzler, 2003. "Endogenous spillovers and incentives to innovate," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 59-79, 01.
  9. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  10. 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.
  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. Athey, Susan & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "Investment and Market Dominance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  13. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-19, July.
  14. Chun Chang & Wang, Yijiang, 1995. "A framework for understanding differences in labor turnover and human capital investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-105, September.
  15. Loewenstein, Mark A & Spletzer, James R, 1998. "Dividing the Costs and Returns to General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 142-71, January.
  16. Lars Vilhuber, 1999. "Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-03, CIRANO.
  17. Abe Yukiko, 1994. "Specific Capital, Adverse Selection, and Turnover: A Comparison of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 272-292, September.
  18. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 2000. "Returns to firm-provided training: evidence from French worker-firm matched data1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
  19. Prendergast, Canice, 1992. "Career development and specific human capital collection," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 207-227, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Boom, A., 2001. "Firm's Investment in General Training and the Market for Skilled Labour," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 1101, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
  2. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2003. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 3940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2006. "The Effects of Globalization on Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 2403, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Bilanakos, Christos, 2013. "Career concerns and firm – sponsored general training," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 117-132.
  5. Kessler, Anke & Lülfesmann, Christoph, 2000. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," CEPR Discussion Papers 2533, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Workplace Training and Labour Market Institutions in Europe," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(4), pages 33-41, 02.
  7. Asplund, Rita, 2004. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training. A brief review of the literature," Discussion Papers 907, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  8. Simon Loertscher & Yves Schneider, 2005. "Switching Costs, Firm Size, and Market Structure," Diskussionsschriften dp0515, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
  9. Rita Asplund, 2005. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training: A Brief Review of the Literature," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 47-73.
  10. Bornemann, Stefan, 2005. "Spillovers in Vocational Training," Discussion Papers in Economics 693, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

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