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Ability and Employer Learning: Evidence from the Economist Labor Market

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  • Paul Oyer

Abstract

I study the human capital development and firm-worker matching processes for PhD economists. This group is useful for this purpose because the types of jobs they hold can be easily categorized and they have an observable productivity measure (that is, publications.) I derive a two-period model to motivate an empirical analysis of economist job matching upon graduation, matching ten years later, and productivity in the first ten years. I show that matching to a higher ranked institution affects productivity. I present evidence that employers improve their estimates of economists' ability early in their career in a way that determines longer-term job placement. I also find that the initial placement of economists to institutions does not show much evidence of systematic misallocation along observable characteristics.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12989.

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Date of creation: Mar 2007
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Publication status: published as Oyer, Paul, 2008. "Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 268-289, June.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12989

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  1. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
  2. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, Elsevier, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
  3. Yonmin Chen & Terra Mckinnish, 2005. "Do Economics Departments Search Optimally in Faculty Recruiting?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 676-688, July.
  4. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 681-724, October.
  5. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  6. Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Making of an Investment Banker: Macroeconomic Shocks, Career Choice, and Lifetime Income," NBER Working Papers 12059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kahn, Charles & Huberman, Gur, 1988. "Two-sided Uncertainty and "Up-or-Out" Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 423-44, October.
  8. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, . "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," IPR working papers 97-18, Institute for Policy Resarch at Northwestern University.
  9. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  10. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-120, December.
  11. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-55, December.
  12. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
  13. Valerie Smeets & Frédèric warzynski & Tom Coupé, 2006. "Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 161-172, Summer.
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Cited by:
  1. John P. Conley & Ali Sina Önder & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Are all High-Skilled Cohorts Created Equal? Unemployment, Gender, and Research Productivity," Working Papers, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei 2012.86, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  2. Timothy Perri, 2011. "Between the Penthouse and the Outhouse: The Sorting of Economics Professors," Working Papers, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University 11-13, Department of Economics, Appalachian State University.
  3. 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 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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