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Sector-Specific Human Capital and the Distribution of Earnings

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  • Eric Smith

Abstract

This paper demonstrates the way in which assignment frictions-the limited ability of workers to find jobs in which they have a comparative advantage-affect the level and composition of human capital acquisition as well as the distribution of income. As workers become more likely to find their preferred job, they specialize more. Specialization raises expected income. It also exposes workers to a greater downside loss when the more desired employment opportunities are unavailable. More specialization thereby raises the earnings divide between those who match well and those who do not, which under some conditions leads to greater inequality. (c) 2010 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

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  • Eric Smith, 2010. "Sector-Specific Human Capital and the Distribution of Earnings," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(1), pages 35-61.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:v:4:y:2010:i:1:p:35-61
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