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Human Capital Specificity: Evidence from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Displaced Worker Surveys, 1984-2000

  • Maxim Poletaev
  • Chris Robinson

Measures of four basic skills, constructed from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, are used to examine the source of human capital specificity. The measures are used to characterize the skill portfolio of each job and to construct distance measures between jobs. Wage losses in the Displaced Worker Surveys are shown to be more closely associated with switching skill portfolios than switching industry or occupation code per se. These switches represent large decreases in the skill portfolio in the postdisplacement job. The recent evidence for industry-specific capital is reexamined. The results suggest a difference between fluid and crystallized skills. (c) 2008 by The University of Chicago.

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File URL: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/pdf/10.1086/588180
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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Labor Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (2008)
Issue (Month): 3 (07)
Pages: 387-420

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlabec:v:26:y:2008:i:3:p:387-420
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  1. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  2. Ronni Pavan, 2006. "Career Choice and Wage Growth," 2006 Meeting Papers 504, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  3. Kambourov, Gueorgui & Manovskii, Iourii, 2004. "Rising Occupational and Industry Mobility in the United States: 1968-1993," IZA Discussion Papers 1110, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Abraham, Katharine G & Farber, Henry S, 1987. "Job Duration, Seniority, and Earnings," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(3), pages 278-97, June.
  5. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  6. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  7. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2004. "Human Capital Specificity: Direct and Indirect Evidence from Canadian and US Panels and Displaced Worker Surveys," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20042, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  8. Parent, Daniel, 2000. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth and the Panel Study of Income Dynamics," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 18(2), pages 306-23, April.
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