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Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data


  • Lars Vilhuber


Using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY), we re-examine the effect of formal on-the-job training on mobility patterns of young American workers. By employing parametric duration models, we evaluate the economic impact of training on productive time with an employer. Confirming previous studies, we find a positive and statistically significant impact of formal on-the-job training on tenure with the employer providing the training. However, expected duration net of the time spent in the training program is generally not significantly increased. We proceed to document and analyze intra-sectoral and cross-sectoral mobility patterns in order to infer whether training provides firm-specific, industry-specific, or general human capital. The econometric analysis rejects a sequential model of job separation in favor of a competing risks specification. We find significant evidence for the industry-specificity of training. The probability of sectoral mobility upon job separation decreases with training received in the current industry, whether with the last employer or previous employers, and employment attachment increases with on-the-job training. These results are robust to a number of variations on the base model. Nous utilisons des données américaines provenant du National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY) pour examiner l'effet de la formation sur le tas par rapport à la mobilité observée des jeunes travailleurs américains. Des modèles de durée paramétriques nous permettent d'évaluer l'impact économique de la formation sur le temps productif passé avec un employeur. Nos résultats sont cohérents avec la plupart des études précédentes, qui trouvaient un impact positif et significatif. Cependant, la durée de la relation de travail nette du temps passé en formation n'augmente pas de manière significative. Nous procédons par la suite à l'analyse de la mobilité intrasectorielle et intersectorielle afin d'inférer par rapport à la spécificité du capital humain acquis par la formation, soit le capital humain spécifique à la firme, soit spécifique à l'industrie, soit général. L'analyse économétrique permet de rejeter un modèle séquentiel de choix de secteur en faveur d'un modèle à risques concurrents. Nos résultats inclinent fortement en faveur de la spécificité de la formation à l'industrie. La probabilité d'un changement de secteur d'activité suite à une séparation d'un emploi décroît avec la formation reçue dans l'industrie présente, peu importe si celle-ci a été reçue du dernier employeur ou d'un employeur précédent. La probabilité de detenir un emploi suite à une séparation augmente avec la formation sur le tas. Ces résultats résistent à des variations du modèle de base.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Vilhuber, 1997. "Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-42, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:97s-42

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Lars Vilhuber, 1999. "Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-03, CIRANO.
    2. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 327, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Vilhuber, Lars, 2001. "La spécificité de la formation en milieu de travail : un survol des contributions théoriques et empiriques récentes," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 77(1), pages 133-167, mars.

    More about this item


    On-the-job training; employment duration; sectoral mobility; industry-specific human capital; parametric duration models; competing risks models; Formation sur le tas; durée de l'emploi; mobilité sectorielle; capital humain spécifique au secteur; modèle de durée paramétrique; modèle à risques concurrents;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion


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