IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Demand for Human Capital: A Microeconomic Approach


  • Michael Gort
  • Seong-Hoon Lee


We propose a model for explaining the demand for human capital based on a CES production function with human capital as an explicit argument in the function. The resulting factor demand model is tested with data on roughly 6,000 plants from the Census Bureau’s Longitudinal Research Database. The results show strong complementarity between physical and human capital. Moreover, the complementarity is greater in high than in low technology industries. The results also show that physical capital of more recent vintage is associated with a higher demand for human capital. While the age of a plant as a reflection of learning-by-doing is positively related to the accumulation of human capital, this relation is more pronounced in low technology industries.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Gort & Seong-Hoon Lee, 2001. "The Demand for Human Capital: A Microeconomic Approach," Working Papers 01-16, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-16

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
    2. Sato, Ryuzo, 1977. "Homothetic and Non-Homothetic CES Production Functions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 67(4), pages 559-569, September.
    3. Bahk, Byong-Hong & Gort, Michael, 1993. "Decomposing Learning by Doing in New Plants," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(4), pages 561-583, August.
    4. Fellner, William, 1969. "Specific interpretations of learning by doing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 1(2), pages 119-140, August.
    5. Fallon, P R & Layard, P R G, 1975. "Capital-Skill Complementarity, Income Distribution, and Output Accounting," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 83(2), pages 279-301, April.
    6. Stokey, Nancy L, 1996. "Free Trade, Factor Returns, and Factor Accumulation," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 1(4), pages 421-447, December.
    7. Dunne, Timothy & Schmitz, James A, Jr, 1995. "Wages, Employment Structure and Employer Size-Wage Premia: Their Relationship to Advanced-Technology Usage at US Manufacturing Establishments," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(245), pages 89-107, February.
    8. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-468, November.
    9. Brown, Charles & Medoff, James, 1989. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(5), pages 1027-1059, October.
    10. Daniel McFadden, 1963. "Constant Elasticity of Substitution Production Functions," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 30(2), pages 73-83.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Michael Gort & Seong-Hoon Lee, 2003. "Managerial Efficiency, Organizational Capital and Productivity," Working Papers 03-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item


    CES; economic; research; micro; data; microdata; chief; economist;


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:01-16. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Erica Coates). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.