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Learning-By-Doing Vs. On-the-Job Training: Using Variation Induced by the EITC to Distinguish Between Models of Skill Formation

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  • James Heckman
  • Lance Lochner
  • Ricardo Cossa

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of wage subsidies on skill formulation. We analyze two prototypical models of skill formation: (a) a learning-by-doing model and (b) an on-the-job training model. We develop conditions on the pricing of jobs under which the two models are equivalent. In general they are different and have different implications of wage subsidies on skill formation. On-the-job training models predict that wage subsidies reduce skill formation. Learning-by-doing models predict the opposite. The provisional evidence favors the learning-by-doing model. We apply our estimates to investigate the impact of the EITC on skill formation. We estimate that the EITC reduced the long term wages of participants with low levels of education.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9083.

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Date of creation: Jul 2002
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Publication status: published as Phelps. E. (ed.) Designing Inclusion: Tools to Raise Low-end Pay and Employment in Private Enterprise. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9083

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  1. Philip K. Robins & Richard W. West, 1980. "Program Participation and Labor-Supply Response," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(4), pages 499-523.
  2. Nada Eissa & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1995. "Labor Supply Response to the Earned Income Tax Credit," NBER Working Papers 5158, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Explaining Rising Wage Inequality: Explanations With A Dynamic General Equilibrium Model of Labor Earnings With Heterogeneous Agents," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 1(1), pages 1-58, January.
  4. Browning, Martin & Hansen, Lars Peter & Heckman, James J., 1999. "Micro data and general equilibrium models," Handbook of Macroeconomics, in: J. B. Taylor & M. Woodford (ed.), Handbook of Macroeconomics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 8, pages 543-633 Elsevier.
  5. Killingsworth, Mark R, 1982. ""Learning by Doing" and "Investment in Training": A Synthesis of Two "Rival" Models of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(2), pages 263-71, April.
  6. Altug, Sumru & Miller, Robert A, 1998. "The Effect of Work Experience on Female Wages and Labour Supply," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(1), pages 45-85, January.
  7. Weiss, Yoram, 1972. "On the Optimal Lifetime Pattern of Labour Supply," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 82(328), pages 1293-1315, December.
  8. Heckman, James J, 1976. "A Life-Cycle Model of Earnings, Learning, and Consumption," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages S11-44, August.
  9. Shaw, Kathryn L, 1989. "Life-Cycle Labor Supply with Human Capital Accumulation," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 30(2), pages 431-56, May.
  10. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  11. Philip K. Robins & Richard W. West, 1980. "Labor Supply Response Over Time," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 15(4), pages 524-544.
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