IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/eee/jeborg/v85y2013icp1-10.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

The O-ring sector and the Foolproof sector: An explanation for skill externalities

Author

Listed:
  • Jones, Garett

Abstract

Differences in worker skill cause modest differences in wages within a country, but are associated with massive differences in productivity across countries (Hanushek and Kimko, 2000). I build upon Kremer's (1993) O-ring theory of production to explain this stylized fact. I posit that there are two kinds of jobs: O-ring jobs where strategic complementarities to skill are large, and a diminishing-returns Foolproof sector, where two mediocre workers provide the same effective labor as one excellent worker. Both production functions are available to each country. In equilibrium, an econometrician would only see small returns to skill within a country. In a world where countries vary only slightly in the average skill of workers, these assumptions are sufficient to generate massive differences in cross-country income inequality while generating only small amounts of intra-country income inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Jones, Garett, 2013. "The O-ring sector and the Foolproof sector: An explanation for skill externalities," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 85(C), pages 1-10.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:85:y:2013:i:c:p:1-10
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2012.10.014
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167268112002193
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    File URL: https://libkey.io/10.1016/j.jebo.2012.10.014?utm_source=ideas
    LibKey link: if access is restricted and if your library uses this service, LibKey will redirect you to where you can use your library subscription to access this item
    ---><---

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for Cross-Country Income Differences," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 679-741, Elsevier.
    2. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2011. "The Economics of International Differences in Educational Achievement," Handbook of the Economics of Education, in: Erik Hanushek & Stephen Machin & Ludger Woessmann (ed.), Handbook of the Economics of Education, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 2, pages 89-200, Elsevier.
    3. Michael Kremer, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-575.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2001. "Productivity Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 563-606.
    5. Garett Jones & W. Schneider, 2006. "Intelligence, Human Capital, and Economic Growth: A Bayesian Averaging of Classical Estimates (BACE) Approach," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 11(1), pages 71-93, March.
    6. Dickens, William T & Lang, Kevin, 1985. "A Test of Dual Labor Market Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 75(4), pages 792-805, September.
    7. Garett Jones & W. Joel Schneider, 2010. "Iq In The Production Function: Evidence From Immigrant Earnings," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 743-755, July.
    8. Benhabib, Jess & Spiegel, Mark M., 1994. "The role of human capital in economic development evidence from aggregate cross-country data," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(2), pages 143-173, October.
    9. Lutz Hendricks, 2002. "How Important Is Human Capital for Development? Evidence from Immigrant Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 198-219, March.
    10. Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), 2005. "Handbook of Economic Growth," Handbook of Economic Growth, Elsevier, edition 1, volume 1, number 1.
    11. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 5266, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    12. Jerik Hanushek & Dennis Kimko, 2006. "Schooling, Labor-force Quality, and the Growth of Nations," Voprosy obrazovaniya / Educational Studies Moscow, National Research University Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 154-193.
    13. Jeffrey S. Zax & Daniel I. Rees, 2002. "IQ, Academic Performance, Environment, and Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 84(4), pages 600-616, November.
    14. Cain, Glen G, 1976. "The Challenge of Segmented Labor Market Theories to Orthodox Theory: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 1215-1257, December.
    15. Caselli, Francesco, 2005. "Accounting for cross-country income differences," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3567, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    16. William T. Dickens & Kevin Lang, 1985. "Testing Dual Labor Market Theory: A Reconsideration of the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 1670, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Bi, Qingmiao & Hang, Jing & Zhou, Mohan, 2021. "Human capital and average firm size," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 204(C).
    2. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Sidek, Abdul Halim & Kurniawan, Yohan & Mohamad, Mohd Rosli, 2014. "Has Globalization Triggered Collective Impact of National Intelligence on Economic Growth?," MPRA Paper 77316, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Azam, Sardor, 2017. "A cross-country empirical test of cognitive abilities and innovation nexus," International Journal of Educational Development, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 128-136.
    4. Oasis, Kodila-Tedika, 2013. "Do Nations Combine O-Rings with Cobb-Douglas? Evidence from agriculture, equipment production, and the informal sector," MPRA Paper 51347, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Che Razak, Razli & Rosli, Muhamad Ridhwan & Selamat, Muhamad Rosli, 2017. "The Bell Curve of Intelligence, Economic Growth and Technological Achievement: How Robust is the Cross-Country Evidence?," MPRA Paper 77469, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. Burhan, Nik Ahmad Sufian & Md. Yunus, Melor & Tovar, María Elena Labastida & Burhan, Nik Mohd Ghazi, 2016. "Why are cognitive abilities of children so different across countries? The link between major socioeconomic factors and PISA test scores," MPRA Paper 77239, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Zachary Gochenour, 2015. "George J. Borjas: Immigration economics," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 164(3), pages 443-445, September.

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Rossi,Federico, 2018. "Human Capital and Macro-Economic Development : A Review of the Evidence," Policy Research Working Paper Series 8650, The World Bank.
    2. Caselli, Francesco & Ciccone, Antonio, 2013. "The contribution of schooling in development accounting: Results from a nonparametric upper bound," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 199-211.
    3. German Cubas & B. Ravikumar & Gustavo Ventura, 2016. "Talent, Labor Quality, and Economic Development," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 21, pages 160-181, July.
    4. Antonio Ciccone & Elias Papaioannou, 2009. "Human Capital, the Structure of Production, and Growth," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(1), pages 66-82, February.
    5. Edwin Goni & William F. Maloney, 2014. "Why don’t Poor Countries do R&D?," Documentos CEDE 11947, Universidad de los Andes, Facultad de Economía, CEDE.
    6. Messinis, George & Ahmed, Abdullahi D., 2013. "Cognitive skills, innovation and technology diffusion," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 565-578.
    7. Campbell, Susanna G. & Üngör, Murat, 2020. "Revisiting human capital and aggregate income differences," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 43-64.
    8. Jones, Garett, 2012. "Cognitive skill and technology diffusion: An empirical test," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 444-460.
    9. Goñi, Edwin & Maloney, William F., 2017. "Why don’t poor countries do R&D? Varying rates of factor returns across the development process," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 94(C), pages 126-147.
    10. Qian, Nancy & Lagakos, David & Moll, Benjamin & Porzio, Tommaso, 2012. "Experience Matters: Human Capital and Development Accounting," CEPR Discussion Papers 9253, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    11. Altinok, Nadir & Aydemir, Abdurrahman, 2017. "Does one size fit all? The impact of cognitive skills on economic growth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 176-190.
    12. Filippetti, Andrea & Payrache, Antonio, 2010. "Productivity growth and catch up in Europe: A new perspective on total factor productivity differences," MPRA Paper 27212, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Zoabi, Hosny, 2006. "Talent Utilization, a Source of Bias in Measuring TFP," Foerder Institute for Economic Research Working Papers 275735, Tel-Aviv University > Foerder Institute for Economic Research.
    14. Charles D. Brummitt & Kenan Huremović & Paolo Pin & Matthew H. Bonds & Fernando Vega-Redondo, 2017. "Contagious disruptions and complexity traps in economic development," Nature Human Behaviour, Nature, vol. 1(9), pages 665-672, September.
    15. Levchenko, Andrei A. & Zhang, Jing, 2016. "The evolution of comparative advantage: Measurement and welfare implications," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(C), pages 96-111.
    16. Marcelo Soto, 2006. "The Causal Effect of Education on Aggregate Income," Working Papers 0605, International Economics Institute, University of Valencia.
    17. Hanushek, Eric A. & Woessmann, Ludger, 2012. "Schooling, educational achievement, and the Latin American growth puzzle," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 497-512.
    18. Kaarsen, Nicolai, 2014. "Cross-country differences in the quality of schooling," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 215-224.
    19. Benjamin F. Jones, 2008. "The Knowledge Trap: Human Capital and Development Reconsidered," NBER Working Papers 14138, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    20. Cem Ertur & Wilfried Koch, 2007. "Growth, technological interdependence and spatial externalities: theory and evidence," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(6), pages 1033-1062.

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:85:y:2013:i:c:p:1-10. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Catherine Liu (email available below). General contact details of provider: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jebo .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.