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Employer Learning and Schooling-Related Statistical Discrimination in Britain

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  • Galindo-Rueda, Fernando

    ()
    (Office of National Statistics)

Abstract

This paper develops and tests a new model of asymmetric information in the labour market involving employer learning. In the model, I provide theoretical conditions for the identification – based on the experience and tenure profiles of estimated returns to ability and education – of employer learning about unobserved worker’s productivity and statistical discrimination based on years of schooling. Using data from two British birth cohorts, estimates based on this model support the hypothesis that British employers have limited information about their workers, make inferences based on their education levels, and progressively learn about their true ability. Moreover, this learning process – particularly among blue-collar workers– favours incumbent employers relative to potential competitors (asymmetric learning). This informational advantage implies an additional distortion in the functioning of the labour market and policy evaluation rarely takes into account the informational impact of interventions and its implications for individual behaviour.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 778.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp778

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Keywords: employer learning; statistical discrimination; asymmetric information; unobserved ability;

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References

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  1. Bauer, Thomas K. & Haisken-DeNew, John P., 2001. "Employer learning and the returns to schooling," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(2), pages 161-180, May.
  2. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," IPR working papers 97-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  4. Cawley, John & Heckman, James & Vytlacil, Edward, 2001. "Three observations on wages and measured cognitive ability," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 8(4), pages 419-442, September.
  5. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and the Signaling Value of Education," IPR working papers 96-11, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  6. Andrew Jenkins, 2001. "Companies use of psychometric testing and the changing demand for skills: A review of the literature," CEE Discussion Papers 0012, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  7. Spence, A Michael, 1973. "Job Market Signaling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 87(3), pages 355-74, August.
  8. Psacharopoulos, George, 1979. "On the weak versus the strong version of the screening hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 181-185.
  9. Layard, Richard & Psacharopoulos, George, 1974. "The Screening Hypothesis and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 985-98, Sept./Oct.
  10. John Cawley & Karen Conneely & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1996. "Cognitive Ability, Wages, and Meritocracy," NBER Working Papers 5645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. John Cawley & James Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 1998. "Understanding the Role of Cognitive Ability in Accounting for the Recent Rise in the Economic Return to Education," NBER Working Papers 6388, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Riley, John G, 1979. "Testing the Educational Screening Hypothesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages S227-52, October.
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Cited by:
  1. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30749, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 06 May 2011.
  2. Theodore Koutmeridis, 2013. "The Market for "Rough Diamonds": Information, Finance and Wage Inequality," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 201307, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews, revised 14 Oct 2013.
  3. Mueller, Barbara & Wolter, Stefan C., 2011. "The Consequences of Being Different: Statistical Discrimination and the School-to-Work Transition," IZA Discussion Papers 5474, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Emiko Usui & Seik Kim, 2013. "Employer Learning, Job Mobility, and Wage Dynamics," 2013 Meeting Papers 912, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Peter Arcidiacono & Patrick Bayer & Aurel Hizmo, 2010. "Beyond Signaling and Human Capital: Education and the Revelation of Ability," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(4), pages 76-104, October.
  6. Néria Rodréguez-Planas, 2011. "Displacement, Signaling, and Recall Expectations," Working Papers 550, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  7. Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2009. "Education, Signaling, and Wage Inequality in a Dynamic Economy," MPRA Paper 16982, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Fabian Lange, 2005. "The Returns to Schooling and Ability During the Early Career: Evidence on Employer Learning and Post-School Investment," 2005 Meeting Papers 253, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. 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 13 Apr 2014.
  10. Theodore Koutmeridis, 2013. "The Market for "Rough Diamonds": Information, Finance and Wage Inequality," CDMA Working Paper Series 201307, Centre for Dynamic Macroeconomic Analysis, revised 14 Oct 2013.
  11. Koerselman, Kristian, 2011. "Bias from the use of mean-based methods on test scores," Working Paper Series 1/2011, Swedish Institute for Social Research.

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