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Specificity of occupational training and occupational mobility: an empirical study based on Lazear’s skill-weights approach

  • Regula Geel
  • Johannes Mure
  • Uschi Backes-Gellner

According to standard human capital theory, firm-financed training cannot be explained if the skills obtained are general in nature. Nevertheless, in German-speaking countries, firms invest heavily in apprenticeship training although the skills are assumed to be general. In our paper, we study the extent to which apprenticeship training is general at all and how specificity of training may be defined based on Lazear’s skill-weights approach. We build occupation-specific skill-weights and find that the more specific the skill portfolio in an occupation, the higher the net costs firms have to bear for these apprenticeship training occupations and, at the same time, the smaller the probability of an occupational change during an employee’s entire career. Due to the new definition of occupational specificity, we thus find that apprenticeship training -- previously assessed as general training -- is very heterogeneous in its specificity.

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

Volume (Year): 19 (2011)
Issue (Month): 5 (January)
Pages: 519-535

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Handle: RePEc:taf:edecon:v:19:y:2011:i:5:p:519-535
DOI: 10.1080/09645291003726483
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  1. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  2. Harhoff, Dietmar & Kane, Thomas J., 1995. "Is the German apprenticeship system a panacea for the US labour market?," ZEW Discussion Papers 95-19, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Euwals, Rob & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2001. "Why Do Firms Train? Empirical Evidence on the First Labour Market Outcomes of Graduated Apprentices," IZA Discussion Papers 319, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. 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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