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On-the-Job Specific Training and Efficient Screening


  • Bac, Mehmet


Employment relationships are governed by short-term incomplete contracts and typically involve on-the-job screening and firm-specific training. This article studies a dynamic employment relationship with these features and identifies a potential conflict between the employer's twin objectives to screen and train the worker: when the training technology is quite productive, the employer may have to sacrifice from worker performance during the screening process. The article thus offers an explanation for why firms may invest suboptimally on training, which complements the standard "inappropriable rents" explanation based on ex post mobility of young employees. Copyright 2000 by University of Chicago Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Bac, Mehmet, 2000. "On-the-Job Specific Training and Efficient Screening," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(4), pages 681-701, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:18:y:2000:i:4:p:681-701

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(1), pages 79-119.
    2. Sicherman, Nachum & Galor, Oded, 1990. "A Theory of Career Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(1), pages 169-192, February.
    3. Bac, Mehmet & Saglam, Ismail, 1999. "Managerial defections, promotion criteria and firm growth," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(7), pages 917-940, October.
    4. Canice Prendergast, 1999. "The Provision of Incentives in Firms," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(1), pages 7-63, March.
    5. Abe Yukiko, 1994. "Specific Capital, Adverse Selection, and Turnover: A Comparison of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 272-292, September.
    6. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
    7. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    8. Bac, Mehmet, 2001. "To invest or screen efficiently: a potential conflict in relationships governed by incomplete contracts," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 567-588, March.
    9. Prendergast, Canice, 1992. "Career development and specific human capital collection," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 207-227, September.
    10. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    11. Bac, Mehmet, 1993. "Opportunism and the Dynamics of Incomplete Contracts," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 34(3), pages 663-683, August.
    12. Mehmet Bac, 1997. "Bilateral Relationships Governed by Incomplete Contracts," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 153(2), pages 320-320, June.
    13. Bruce C. Greenwald, 1986. "Adverse Selection in the Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 325-347.
    14. James M. Malcomson, 1997. "Contracts, Hold-Up, and Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(4), pages 1916-1957, December.
    15. Eng Seng Loh, 1994. "Employment Probation as a Sorting Mechanism," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(3), pages 471-486, April.
    16. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-176, February.
    17. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
    18. Demougin, Dominique & Siow, Aloysius, 1994. "Careers in Ongoing Hierarchies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(5), pages 1261-1277, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mehmet Bac & Serife Genc, 2009. "The French first employment contract: efficient screening device or Kleenex contract?," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 98(1), pages 77-88, September.
    2. Pinoli, Sara, 2008. "Screening ex-ante or screening on-the-job? The impact of the employment contract," MPRA Paper 11429, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    3. Chandler, Gaylen N. & McKelvie, Alexander & Davidsson, Per, 2009. "Asset specificity and behavioral uncertainty as moderators of the sales growth -- Employment growth relationship in emerging ventures," Journal of Business Venturing, Elsevier, vol. 24(4), pages 373-387, July.

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