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Market conditions and worker training: How does it affect and whom?

  • Majumdar, Sumon

This paper analyses the impact of labor market conditions on a firm's incentive to train its workers. In an equilibrium model of the labor market in which firms use both untrained and in-house trained workers, we show that the incidence of training increases with the tightness of the labor market. In a multi-sector framework, the usual threat of hold-up by a trained worker is more severe for workers who change their sector of work; during downturns, this serves to bias firms' incentives in imparting training away from such workers and towards workers already in the firm and those new workers coming from the same sector. Evidence from the NLSY confirms both predictions --- the incidence and duration of company-sponsored training is adversely affected by higher unemployment rates; furthermore, this negative effect is much stronger for workers who change industries as compared to those who do not.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 1-23

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:14:y:2007:i:1:p:1-23
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  1. Bartel, Ann P & Sicherman, Nachum, 1998. "Technological Change and the Skill Acquisition of Young Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(4), pages 718-55, October.
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  3. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory And Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(1), pages 78-118, February.
  4. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1987. "Employer Size: The Implications for Search, Training, Capital Investment, Starting Wages, and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(1), pages 76-89, January.
  5. Lynch, Lisa M, 1992. "Private-Sector Training and the Earnings of Young Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 299-312, March.
  6. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
  7. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Stole, Lars A & Zwiebel, Jeffrey, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410, July.
  9. Grout, Paul A, 1984. "Investment and Wages in the Absence of Binding Contracts: A Nash Bargining Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(2), pages 449-60, March.
  10. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 445-64, July.
  11. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-19, July.
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