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Learning and Wage Dynamics

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  • Henry S. Farber
  • Robert Gibbons

Abstract

We develop a dynamic model of learning about worker ability in a competitive labor market. The model produces three testable implications regarding wage dynamics: (1) although the role of schooling in the labor market's inference process declines as performance observations accumulate, the estimated effect of schooling on the level of wages is independent of labor-market experience; (2) timeinvariant variables correlated with ability but unobserved by employers ( such as certain test scores) are increasingly correlated with wages as experience increases; and (3) wage residuals are a martingale. We present evidence from the NLSY that is broadly consistent with the model's predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:qjecon:v:111:y:1996:i:4:p:1007-1047.
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