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Ability and employer learning: Evidence from the economist labor market

In: Organizational Innovation and Firm Performance

  • Paul Oyer

I study the human capital development and firm-worker matching processes for PhD economists. This group is useful for this purpose because the types of jobs they hold can be easily categorized and they have an observable productivity measure (that is, publications). I derive a two-period model to motivate an empirical analysis of economist job matching upon graduation, matching ten years later, and productivity in the first ten years. I show that matching to a higher ranked institution affects productivity. I present evidence that employers improve their estimates of economists' ability early in their career in a way that determines longer-term job placement. I also find that the initial placement of economists to institutions does not show much evidence of systematic misallocation along observable characteristics. J. Japanese Int. Economies 22 (2) (2008) 268-289.

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This chapter was published in:
  • George Baker & Takeo Hoshi & Hideshi Itoh & Sadao Nagaoka, 2008. "Organizational Innovation and Firm Performance," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bake08-1, August.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12177.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12177
    Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
    Phone: 617-868-3900
    Web page: http://www.nber.org
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    1. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1991. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," NBER Working Papers 3764, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paul Oyer, 2006. "Initial Labor Market Conditions and Long-Term Outcomes for Economists," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 143-160, Summer.
    3. Paul Oyer, 2006. "The Making of an Investment Banker: Macroeconomic Shocks, Career Choice, and Lifetime Income," NBER Working Papers 12059, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-55, December.
    5. Katz, Lawrence & Gibbons, Robert & Lemieux, Thomas & Parent, Daniel, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Scholarly Articles 2766651, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    6. Valerie Smeets & Frédèric warzynski & Tom Coupé, 2006. "Does the Academic Labor Market Initially Allocate New Graduates Efficiently?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(3), pages 161-172, Summer.
    7. Kahn, Charles & Huberman, Gur, 1988. "Two-sided Uncertainty and "Up-or-Out" Contracts," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 423-44, October.
    8. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 1997. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," NBER Working Papers 6279, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Carmichael, H Lorne, 1988. "Incentives in Academics: Why Is There Tenure?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(3), pages 453-72, June.
    10. Yonmin Chen & Terra Mckinnish, 2005. "Do Economics Departments Search Optimally in Faculty Recruiting?," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 43(3), pages 676-688, July.
    11. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
    12. Farber, Henry S., 1999. "Mobility and stability: The dynamics of job change in labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 37, pages 2439-2483 Elsevier.
    13. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-120, December.
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