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Returns to Human Capital Under The Communist Wage Grid and During the Transition to a Market Economy

  • Daniel Münich

    (CERGE-EI (Prague))

  • Jan Svejnar

    (Ross School of Business and Department of Economics, University of Michigan)

  • Katherine Terrell

    (Ross School of Business and Ford School of Public Policy, University of Michigan)

We estimate returns to human capital during communism and the transition using data on 2,284 men in the Czech Republic. We show: (a) extremely low and constant rates of return to education under the communist wage grid and dramatic increases in transition, which do not differ by firm ownership, (b) radical changes in returns to several fields of study and "sheepskin effects" in both regimes, (c) identical wage experience profile in both regimes, (d) similar 1996 returns to human capital obtained in communism and in transition, and (e) changes in the interindustry wage structure. A decomposition of the variance of wages finds individuals' unobservable effects from communism to persist into transition, but most of the variance is due to unobservable effects introduced in the transition. © 2005 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

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Article provided by MIT Press in its journal Review of Economics and Statistics.

Volume (Year): 87 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (February)
Pages: 100-123

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Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:87:y:2005:i:1:p:100-123
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  1. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orazem, Peter F. & Vodopivec, Milan, 1997. "Value of human capital in transition to market: Evidence from Slovenia," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(3-5), pages 893-903, April.
  3. Edward J. Bird & Johannes Schwarze & Gert Wagner, 1994. "Wage effects of the move toward free markets in East Germany," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 390-400, April.
  4. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  5. Psacharopoulos, George, 1993. "Returns to investment in education : a global update," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1067, The World Bank.
  6. Layard, Richard & Psacharopoulos, George, 1974. "The Screening Hypothesis and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 985-98, Sept./Oct.
  7. Krueger, Alan B. & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1992. "A comparative analysis of East and West German labor markets before and after unification," ZEW Discussion Papers 92-11, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  8. James Heckman & Anne Layne-Farrar & Petra Todd, 1995. "The Schooling Quality-Earnings Relationship: Using Economic Theory to Interpret Functional Forms Consistent with the Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5288, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Hungerford, Thomas & Solon, Gary, 1987. "Sheepskin Effects in the Returns to Education," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 175-77, February.
  10. Robert J. Flanagan, 1995. "Wage Structure in the Transition of the Czech Economy," IMF Working Papers 95/36, International Monetary Fund.
  11. Jacob Mincer & Solomon Polachek, 1974. "Family Investments in Human Capital: Earnings of Women," NBER Chapters, in: Marriage, Family, Human Capital, and Fertility, pages 76-110 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. James Heckman & Anne Layne-Farrar & Petra Todd, 1995. "Does Measured School Quality Really Matter? An Examination of the Earnings-Quality Relationship," NBER Working Papers 5274, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Jacob Mincer & Haim Ofek, 1982. "Interrupted Work Careers: Depreciation and Restoration of Human Capital," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 17(1), pages 3-24.
  14. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1.
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