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A microfoundation for increasing returns in human capital accumulation and the under-participation trap

  • Booth, Alison L.
  • Coles, Melvyn

This paper considers educational investment, wages and hours of market work in an imperfectly competitive labour market with heterogeneous workers and home production. It investigates the degree to which there might be both underemployment in the labour market and underinvestment in education. A central insight is that the ex-post participation decision of workers endogeneously generates increasing marginal returns to education. Although equilibrium implies underinvestment in education, optimal policy is not to subsidise education. Instead it is to subsidise labour market participation which we argue might be efficiently targeted as state provided childcare support.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal European Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 51 (2007)
Issue (Month): 7 (October)
Pages: 1661-1681

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Handle: RePEc:eee:eecrev:v:51:y:2007:i:7:p:1661-1681
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  1. Wrohlich, Katharina, 2005. "The Excess Demand for Subsidized Child Care in Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 1515, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  2. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender Segregation in Employment Contracts," CEP Discussion Papers dp0637, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
  4. V. Bhaskar & Ted To, 1996. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Labor and Demography 9603001, EconWPA, revised 21 May 1996.
  5. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  6. Booth, Alison L & Coles, Melvyn G & Gong, Xiaodong, 2007. "Increasing Returns to Education: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6266, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. 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.
  8. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2010. "Education, Matching, and the Allocative Value of Romance," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 744-775, 06.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," NBER Working Papers 6357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2007. "The Impact Of Fiscal Policy On Labor Supply And Education In An Economy With Household And Market Production," CAMA Working Papers 2007-08, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  11. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender segregation in employment contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3662, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1996. "Collective Labor Supply and Household Production," Papers 301, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  13. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium Wage Dispersion with Worker and Employer Heterogeneity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(6), pages 2295-2350, November.
  14. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  15. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
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