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Match Effects

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  • Woodcock, Simon

Abstract

We present an empirical model of earnings that controls for observable and unobservable characteristics of workers (person effects), unmeasured characteristics of their employers (firm effects), and unmeasured characteristics of worker-firm matches (match effects). We interpret these as the returns to general human capital, firm-specific human capital, and match-specific human capital, respectively. We stress the importance of match effects because the returns to match-specific human capital will be incorrectly attributed to general and/or firm-specific human capital when match effects are omitted, and because general and specific human capital have very different implications for the economic cost of job destruction. We find that slightly more than half of observed variation in log earnings is attributable to general human capital, 22 percent is attributable to firm-specific human capital, and 16 percent to match-specific human capital. Specifications that omit match effects over-estimate the returns to experience by as much as 50 percent, over-estimate the returns to a college education by as much as 8 percent, attribute too much variation to person effects, and too little to firm effects. Our results suggest that considerable earnings variation previously attributed to general human capital -- both observed and unobserved -- is in fact attributable to workers sorting into higher-paying firms and better worker-firm matches.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 154.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:154

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Keywords: human capital; fixed effects; mixed effects; person and firm effects; linked employer-employee data;

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References

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  1. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Centre interuniversitaire de recherche en économie quantitative, CIREQ.
  2. Gruetter, Max & Lalive, Rafael, 2009. "The importance of firms in wage determination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-160, April.
  3. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1978. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Working Papers 0285, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. John M. Abowd (corresponding) & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Are Good Workers Employed by Good Firms? A Simple Test of Positive Assortative Matching Models," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 385, Econometric Society.
  5. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2009. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," NBER Chapters, in: Producer Dynamics: New Evidence from Micro Data, pages 149-230 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Benoit Dostie, 2004. "Job Turnover and the Returns to Seniority," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 127, Econometric Society.
  7. Andrews, Martyn & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2004. "Practical estimation methods for linked employer-employee data," IAB Discussion Paper 200403, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  8. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Joseph Altonji & R. Shakotko, 1985. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Working Papers 567, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  10. Hausman, Jerry A. & Taylor, William E., 1981. "Panel data and unobservable individual effects," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 155-155, May.
  11. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Andrews, Martyn J. & Gill, Len & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2006. "High wage workers and low wage firms : negative assortative matching or statistical artefact?," Discussion Papers 42, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  13. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
  14. Woodcock Simon D, 2010. "Heterogeneity and Learning in Labor Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-69, September.
  15. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  16. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
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