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The role of specific and general human capital after displacement

  • Ben Kriechel
  • Gerard Pfann

Displaced workers experience significant and long-lasting wage losses. However, the average wage losses hide the tremendous differences among workers. So far, the differences are explained by differences in accumulated on-the-job experience, education level, age, and so on, but a large variation among similar workers remain. In this paper we investigate the effect of general and specific human capital on the unemployment duration and wage losses during the first three years following displacement. Information on the specificity of a job or function allows us to quantify the impact on the wage losses. We are able to rank positions in terms of the specificity of accumulated human capital.

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Article provided by Taylor & Francis Journals in its journal Education Economics.

Volume (Year): 13 (2005)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 223-236

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:13:y:2005:i:2:p:223-236
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  1. 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.
  2. Topel, Robert, 1990. "Specific capital and unemployment: Measuring the costs and consequences of job loss," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 181-214, January.
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  6. Thomas J. Dohmen & Ben Kriechel & Gerard A. Pfann, 2004. "Monkey bars and ladders: The importance of lateral and vertical job mobility in internal labor market careers," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 193-228, 06.
  7. Ruhm, Christopher J, 1991. "Are Workers Permanently Scarred by Job Displacements?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 81(1), pages 319-24, March.
  8. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 9.
  9. Lori G. Kletzer, 1998. "Job Displacement," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 115-136, Winter.
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  11. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  12. Parsons, Donald O, 1972. "Specific Human Capital: An Application to Quit Rates and Layoff Rates," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(6), pages 1120-43, Nov.-Dec..
  13. Pfann, Gerard A & Ben Kriechel, 2003. "Heterogeneity among Displaced Workers," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 164, Royal Economic Society.
  14. Edward P. Lazear, 2003. "Firm-Specific Human Capital: A Skill-Weights Approach," NBER Working Papers 9679, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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