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Overworked and Overpaid: The Costs of Learning by Doing

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  • Tervio, Marko

Abstract

In medicine, law, consulting, and many other careers, a significant proportion of human capital is created through profession-specific learning-by-doing (LBD. In the absence of long-term wage contracts, if LDB effects are sufficiently large, then young workers should face a negative wage in return for high future wages. However, if workers are liquidity constrained, then young workers compete away those returns to experience by working inefficiently hard. This inefficiency results in higher lifetime earning, causes older workers to exert too little effort, and tends to lower the observable (monetary) returns to experience. Unlike traditional models, this can explain "career concerns" in professions where effort and ability are observable.

Suggested Citation

  • Tervio, Marko, 2005. "Overworked and Overpaid: The Costs of Learning by Doing," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt0d838888, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt0d838888
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
    2. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    3. George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
    4. Landers, Renee M & Rebitzer, James B & Taylor, Lowell J, 1996. "Rat Race Redux: Adverse Selection in the Determination of Work Hours in Law Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 329-348, June.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    D31; J31; J34;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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