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Experience vs. Obsolescence: A Vintage-Human-Capital Model

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  • Kredler, Matthias

Abstract

I combine an infinite-horizon version of Ben-Porath’s (1967) model of human-capital accumulation with a vintage structure as in Chari & Hopenhayn (1991). Different skill levelsinside a vintage are complementary in production. Vintage-specific human capital is accumulated based on workers’ optimal strategies and is lost when the technology is phased out by an endogenous firm decision. I establish equivalence between competitive equilibrium and a planner’s problem. It is shown that returns to skill are highest in young vintages. Accelerated technological change shortens the life cycle of a technology and speeds up obsolescence; the premium on tenure rises because more workers are concentrated in young technologies with high skill premia. A calibration exercise comparing two steady states shows that the model quantitatively accounts for the changes in the experience premium, earnings dispersion and earnings turbulence in German data.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 10200.

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Date of creation: 28 Jul 2008
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:10200

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Keywords: Vintage human capital; age-earnings profiles; partial differential equations;

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  1. Cummins, Jason G & Violante, Giovanni L, 2002. "Investment-Specific Technical Change in the US (1947-2000): Measurement and Macroeconomic Consequences," CEPR Discussion Papers 3584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Andrew Atkeson & Patrick J. Kehoe, 2005. "Modeling and Measuring Organization Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(5), pages 1026-1053, October.
  3. Michelacci, Claudio & Quadrini, Vincenzo, 2005. "Financial Markets and Wages," CEPR Discussion Papers 4867, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
  5. Tor Jakob Klette & Samuel Kortum, 2002. "Innovating Firms and Aggregate Innovation," NBER Working Papers 8819, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1989. "Quality Ledders In The Theory Of Growth," Papers 148, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  7. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu, 2010. "A Quantitative Analysis of the Evolution of the U.S. Wage Distribution, 1970-2000," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2009, Volume 24, pages 227-276 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mark Huggett, 2003. "Human Capital and Earnings Distribution Dynamics," Working Papers gueconwpa~03-03-10, Georgetown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Heckman, James J. & Lochner, Lance & Todd, Petra E., 2003. "Fifty Years of Mincer Earnings Regressions," IZA Discussion Papers 775, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Ken Burdett & Melvyn Coles, 2003. "Equilibrium Wage-Tenure Contracts," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(5), pages 1377-1404, 09.
  11. 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.
  12. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557, April.
  13. Peter Gottschalk & Mary Joyce, 1998. "Cross-National Differences In The Rise In Earnings Inequality: Market And Institutional Factors," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 80(4), pages 489-502, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Boyan Jovanovic, 2008. "When Should Firms Invest in Old Capital?," NBER Working Papers 14000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Giovanni Mastrobuoni & Filippo Taddei, 2011. "Age Before Beauty? Productivity and Work vs. Seniority and Early Retirement," CeRP Working Papers 120, Center for Research on Pensions and Welfare Policies, Turin (Italy).

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