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Human Capital and Technological Transition: Insights from the U.S. Navy

  • J. Glaser, Darrell
  • S. Rahman, Ahmed

We explore the effects of human capital on workers during the latter nineteenth century by examining the U.S. Navy. Naval officers belonged either to a regular or an engineer corps and had tasks assigned for their specialized training. We compile education and career data for officers from Naval Academy and navy registers for the years 1858 to 1907. Wage premia for “engineer-skilled” officers deteriorated over their careers; more traditionally skilled officers enjoyed higher gains in earnings and more frequent promotions. This compelled those with engineering skills to leave the service early, hindering the navy's capacity to further technologically develop.

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Article provided by Cambridge University Press in its journal The Journal of Economic History.

Volume (Year): 71 (2011)
Issue (Month): 03 (September)
Pages: 704-729

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Handle: RePEc:cup:jechis:v:71:y:2011:i:03:p:704-729_00
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