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The Value of Human Capital during the Second Industrial Revolution—Evidence from the U.S. Navy

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  • Darrell J. Glaser

    ()
    (United States Naval Academy)

  • Ahmed S. Rahman

    ()
    (United States Naval Academy)

Abstract

This paper explores the role of human capital on earnings and other measures of job performance during the late 19th century. During this time, U.S. Naval ocers belonged either to a regular or an engineer corps and had tasks assigned to their specialized training and experience. To test for the e ects of specialized skills on performance, we compile educational data from original-source Naval Academy records for the graduating classes of 1858 to 1905. We merge these with career data extracted from official Navy registers for the years 1859 to 1907. This compilation comprises one of the longest and earliest longitudinal records of labor market earnings, education and experience of which we are aware. Our results suggest that greater technical skill translated into higher earnings early in careers, but wage premia diminished as careers progressed. From this evidence we argue that technical progress was more skill-depreciating than skill-biased during this period.

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File URL: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/RePEc/usn/wp/usnawp28.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by United States Naval Academy Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 28.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:28

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  1. Oded Galor, 2005. "Unified Growth Theory," Development and Comp Systems 0504001, EconWPA.
  2. Dirk Krueger & Krishna B. Kumar, 2003. "Skill-specific rather then General Education: A Reason for US-Europe Growth Differences?," NBER Working Papers 9408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 2007. "Education and Consumption: The Effects of Education in the Household Compared to the Marketplace," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 9-35.
  4. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Rahman, Ahmed & Taylor, Alan M, 2008. "Luddites and the Demographic Transition," CEPR Discussion Papers 7045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 1998. "Ability Biased Technological Transition, Wage Inequality, and Economic Growth," Working Papers 98-14, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  6. Goldin, Claudia & Katz, Lawrence F., 2000. "Education and Income in the Early Twentieth Century: Evidence from the Prairies," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 60(03), pages 782-818, September.
  7. David N. Weil & Oded Galor, 2000. "Population, Technology, and Growth: From Malthusian Stagnation to the Demographic Transition and Beyond," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 806-828, September.
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