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Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market

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  • Oyer, Paul

Abstract

I study the human capital development and firm-worker matching processes for PhD economists. This group is useful for this purpose because the types of jobs they hold can be easily categorized and they have an observable productivity measure (that is, publications). I derive a two-period model to motivate an empirical analysis of economist job matching upon graduation, matching ten years later, and productivity in the first ten years. I show that matching to a higher ranked institution affects productivity. I present evidence that employers improve their estimates of economists' ability early in their career in a way that determines longer-term job placement. I also find that the initial placement of economists to institutions does not show much evidence of systematic misallocation along observable characteristics. J. Japanese Int. Economies 22 (2) (2008) 268-289.

Suggested Citation

  • Oyer, Paul, 2008. "Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 22(2), pages 268-289, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jjieco:v:22:y:2008:i:2:p:268-289
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    2. Yonmin Chen & Terra Mckinnish, 2005. "Do Economics Departments Search Optimally in Faculty Recruiting?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 676-688, July.
    3. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 681-724, October.
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    5. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
    6. Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Making of an Investment Banker: Macroeconomic Shocks, Career Choice, and Lifetime Income," NBER Working Papers 12059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-472, June.
    8. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-1055, December.
    9. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    10. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-1120, December.
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    12. Valerie Smeets & Frédèric warzynski & Tom Coupé, 2006. "Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 161-172, Summer.
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    Cited by:

    1. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Lawson, Cornelia & Geuna, Aldo & Ana Fernández-Zubieta & Toselli, Manuel & Kataishi, Rodrigo, 2015. "International Careers of Researchers in Biomedical Sciences: A Comparison of the US and the UK," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 201514, University of Turin.
    3. Catherine Haeck & Frank Verboven, 2012. "The Internal Economics of a University: Evidence from Personnel Data," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(3), pages 591-626.
    4. John P. Conley & Ali Sina Onder & Benno Torgler, 2012. "Are all High-Skilled Coherts Created Equal? Unemployment, Gender, and Research Productivity," School of Economics and Finance Discussion Papers and Working Papers Series 293, School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology.
    5. Timothy Perri, 2012. "Between the penthouse and the outhouse: the sorting of economics professors," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 19(18), pages 1899-1902, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J44 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Professional Labor Markets and Occupations
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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