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A Product Market Theory of Worker Training

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  • Hans Gersbach

    ()
    (CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research, ETH Zurich)

  • Armin Schmutzler

    ()
    (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich)

Abstract

We develop a product market theory that explains why firms invest in general training of their workers. We consider a model where firms first decide whether to invest in general human capital, then make wage offers for each others’ trained employees and finally engage in imperfect product market competition. Equilibria with and without training, and multiple equilibria can emerge. If competition is suffciently soft and trained workers are substitutes, firms may invest in non-specific training if others do the same, because they would otherwise suffer a competitive disadvantage or need to pay high wages in order to attract trained workers. Government intervention can be socially desirable to turn training into a focal equilibrium.

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File URL: http://www.soi.uzh.ch/research/wp/2002/wp0214.pdf
File Function: Revised version, 2003
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich in its series SOI - Working Papers with number 0214.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2002
Date of revision: Jan 2003
Handle: RePEc:soz:wpaper:0214

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Keywords: general training; human capital; oligopoly; turnover;

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References

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  1. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-19, July.
  2. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  3. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2003. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 3940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Prendergast, Canice, 1992. "Career development and specific human capital collection," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 207-227, September.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
  6. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  7. Hans Gersbach & Armin Schmutzler, 2003. "Endogenous spillovers and incentives to innovate," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 59-79, 01.
  8. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann, 2006. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: on the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 903-923, October.
  9. Lars Vilhuber, 1999. "Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-03, CIRANO.
  10. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 2000. "Returns to firm-provided training: evidence from French worker-firm matched data1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
  11. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  12. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  13. Loewenstein, Mark A & Spletzer, James R, 1998. "Dividing the Costs and Returns to General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 142-71, January.
  14. Lars Vilhuber, 1997. "Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-42, CIRANO.
  15. Athey, Susan & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "Investment and Market Dominance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  16. Abe Yukiko, 1994. "Specific Capital, Adverse Selection, and Turnover: A Comparison of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 272-292, September.
  17. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  18. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 445-64, July.
  19. Chun Chang & Wang, Yijiang, 1995. "A framework for understanding differences in labor turnover and human capital investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-105, September.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Giorgio Brunello, 2006. "Workplace Training and Labour Market Institutions in Europe," CESifo DICE Report, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 4(4), pages 33-41, 02.
  2. Asplund, Rita, 2004. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training. A brief review of the literature," Discussion Papers 907, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
  3. Rita Asplund, 2005. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training: A Brief Review of the Literature," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 47-73.
  4. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 327, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  5. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann, 2006. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: on the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 116(514), pages 903-923, October.
  6. Simon Loertscher & Yves Schneider, 2005. "Switching Costs, Firm Size, and Market Structure," SOI - Working Papers 0508, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
  7. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2006. "The Effects of Globalization on Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 2403, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  8. Boom, A., 2001. "Firm's Investment in General Training and the Market for Skilled Labour," Norway; Department of Economics, University of Bergen 1101, Department of Economics, University of Bergen.
  9. Bornemann, Stefan, 2005. "Spillovers in Vocational Training," Discussion Papers in Economics 693, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Bilanakos, Christos, 2013. "Career concerns and firm – sponsored general training," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 117-132.

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