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Uncertainty in Labor Productivity and Specific Human Capital Investment

Author

Listed:
  • Chong-En Bai

    (University of Hong Kong)

  • Yijiang Wang

    (University of Minnesota)

Abstract

Uncertainty in labor productivity (ULP) is affected by many factors, such as worker-employer matching, technology, and macroeconomic conditions. Not surprisingly, ULP varies across firms, industries, and economies. How do variations in ULP affect specific human capital (SHC) investment, wage, and labor turnover? A fixed-wage model is used to show that the answer depends critically on the initial level of ULP. The model is also used to show that wage and SHC are always positively correlated, but SHC investment and labor turnover do not have a monotonic relationship. These results have implications for empirical studies and public policies affecting ULP.

Suggested Citation

  • Chong-En Bai & Yijiang Wang, 2003. "Uncertainty in Labor Productivity and Specific Human Capital Investment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 21(3), pages 651-676, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:21:y:2003:i:3:p:651-676
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Scoones, David, 2000. "Matching and competition for human capital," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 135-152, March.
    2. Chun Chang & Wang, Yijiang, 1995. "A framework for understanding differences in labor turnover and human capital investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-105, September.
    3. Avinash K. Dixit & Robert S. Pindyck, 1994. "Investment under Uncertainty," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, number 5474, June.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1975. "Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis, with Special Reference to Education, Second Edition," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number beck75-1, January.
    5. Ben-Ner, Avner & Jun, Byoung, 1996. "Employee Buyout in a Bargaining Game with Asymmetric Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 502-523, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yijiang Wang, "undated". "Product Market Conditions and Job Design," Working Papers 0402, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
    2. Bai, Chong-En & Xu, Cheng-Gang, 2001. "Ownership, incentives and monitoring," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3750, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. MORITA, Hodaka & TANG, Cheng-Tao, 2017. "Asset Specificity, Human Capital Acquisition, and Labor Market Competition," Discussion paper series HIAS-E-42, Hitotsubashi Institute for Advanced Study, Hitotsubashi University.
    4. Bilkic, N. & Gries, T. & Pilichowski, M., 2012. "Stay in school or start working? — The human capital investment decision under uncertainty and irreversibility," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(5), pages 706-717.
    5. Yijiang Wang, "undated". "Demand, Supply and Coordination: An Integrated Theory of the Division of Labor," Working Papers 0405, Human Resources and Labor Studies, University of Minnesota (Twin Cities Campus).
    6. Mark Yanochik & John King, 2015. "The Classical Bargaining Model for Organized Labor," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 43(3), pages 375-382, September.

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