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A Microfoundation for Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation and the Under-Participation Trap

  • Alison L. Booth
  • Melvyn Coles

This paper considers educational investment, wages and hours of market work in an imperfectly competitive labour market with heterogeneous workers and home production. It investigates the degree to which there might be both underemployment in the labour market and underinvestment in education. A central insight is that the ex-post participation decision of workers endogeneously generates increasing marginal returns to education. Although equilibrium implies underinvestment in education, optimal policy is not to subsidise education. Instead it is to subsidise labour market participation which we argue might be efficiently targeted as state provided childcare support.

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File URL: https://www.cbe.anu.edu.au/researchpapers/cepr/DP543.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 543.

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Date of creation: Dec 2006
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Handle: RePEc:auu:dpaper:543
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  1. V. Bhaskar & Ted To, 1996. "Minimum Wages for Ronald McDonald Monopsonies: A Theory of Monopsonistic Competition," Labor and Demography 9603001, EconWPA, revised 21 May 1996.
  2. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender Segregation in Employment Contracts," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(2-3), pages 331-345, 04/05.
  3. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-73, May.
  4. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles, 2007. "The Impact Of Fiscal Policy On Labor Supply And Education In An Economy With Household And Market Production," CAMA Working Papers 2007-08, Centre for Applied Macroeconomic Analysis, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  5. Katharina Wrohlich, 2005. "The Excess Demand for Subsidized Child Care in Germany," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 470, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  6. Postel-Vinay & Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Working Papers 155908, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  7. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  8. Alan Manning & Ted To, 2002. "Oligopsony and Monopsonistic Competition in Labor Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(2), pages 155-174, Spring.
  9. Booth, Alison L & Coles, Melvyn G, 2005. "Education, Matching and the Allocative Value of Romance," CEPR Discussion Papers 5099, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Apps, P.F. & Rees, R., 1996. "Collective Labor Supply and Household Production," Papers 301, Australian National University - Department of Economics.
  11. Acemoglu, Daron, 1996. "A Microfoundation for Social Increasing Returns in Human Capital Accumulation," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(3), pages 779-804, August.
  12. Alison Booth & Melvyn Coles & Xiaodong Gong, 2006. "Increasing Returns to Education: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 522, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  13. Barbara Petrongolo, 2004. "Gender segregation in employment contracts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3662, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, June.
  15. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  16. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Jean-Marc Robin, 2002. "Equilibrium wage dispersion with worker and employer heterogeneity," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/dc0ckec3fcb, Sciences Po.
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