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Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany


  • Lars Vilhuber


This article studies mobility patterns of German workers in light of a model of sector-specific human capital. Furthermore, I employ and describe little-used data on continuous on-the-job training occuring after apprenticeships. Results are presented describing the incidence and duration of continuous training. Continuous training is quite common, depite the high incidence of apprenticeships which precedes this part of a worker's career. Most previous studies have only distinguished between firm-specific and general human capital, generally concluding that training was general. Inconsistent with those conclusions, I show that German men are more likely to find a job within the same sector if they have received continuous training in that sector. These results are similar to results obtained for young U.S. workers, and suggest that sector-specific capital is an important feature of very different labor markets. Furthermore, the results suggest that the observed effect of training on mobility is sensitive to the state of the business cycle, indicating a more complex interaction between supply and demand that most theoretical models allow for. Cet article étudie la mobilité des travailleurs allemands à la lumière d'un modèle de capital humain dont la spécificité est sectorielle. En outre, j'utilise et décris des données peu utilisées sur la formation formelle ayant lieu après la fin d'un apprentissage. Comparativement aux États-Unis, un plus grand nombre de travailleurs suit une formation annuellement, et ce en dépit d'une incidence élévée d'apprentissage précédent. Tandis que plusieurs autres études font uniquement une distinction entre capital humain spécifique à une seule firme et capital humain général, je montre que les travailleurs allemands ont une plus grande probabilité de trouver un emploi dans un secteur s'ils ont suivi une formation formelle dans ce secteur. Ce résultat n'est cohérent ni avec la présence de capital humain spécifique à une seule firme, ni avec du capital humain complètement général. Conjointement avec des résultats semblables pour des travailleurs américains, il suggère l'importance du capital humain spécifique à l'industrie. Par ailleurs, l'effet de la formation sur la mobilité semble sensible à l'état de la conjoncture, suggérant une relation entre offre et demande plus complexe que celle décrite par la plupart des modèles théoriques.

Suggested Citation

  • Lars Vilhuber, 1999. "Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-03, CIRANO.
  • Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:99s-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lisa M. Lynch, 1992. "Differential Effects of Post-School Training on Early Career Mobility," NBER Working Papers 4034, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. A. Werwatz, 1997. "Mobility after Apprenticeship- How effective is the German apprenticeship system?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1997,75, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
    3. Dietmar Harhoff & Thomas J. Kane, 1993. "Financing Apprenticeship Training: Evidence from Germany," NBER Working Papers 4557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Loewenstein, Mark A & Spletzer, James R, 1998. "Dividing the Costs and Returns to General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 142-171, January.
    5. Daniel Parent, 1995. "Industry-Specific Capital and the Wage Profile: Evidence from the NLSY and the PSID," CIRANO Working Papers 95s-26, CIRANO.
    6. Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2001. "Continuous training in Germany," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 14(3), pages 523-548.
    7. 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.
    8. Thomas, Jonathan M, 1996. "An Empirical Model of Sectoral Movements by Unemployed Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(1), pages 126-153, January.
    9. Lynch, Lisa M, 1992. "Private-Sector Training and the Earnings of Young Workers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(1), pages 299-312, March.
    10. John M. Barron & Mark C. Berger & Dan A. Black, 1997. "On-the-Job Training," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number ojt, November.
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    12. Mincer, Jacob, 1978. "Family Migration Decisions," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 749-773, October.
    13. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-562, October.
    14. Lars Vilhuber, 1997. "Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-42, CIRANO.
    15. Sandell, Steven H, 1977. "Women and the Economics of Family Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 59(4), pages 406-414, November.
    16. Barron, John M & Berger, Mark C & Black, Dan A, 1997. "How Well Do We Measure Training?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages 507-528, July.
    17. David Soskice, 1994. "Reconciling Markets and Institutions: The German Apprenticeship System," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 25-60 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    18. Parent, Daniel, 1999. "Wages and Mobility: The Impact of Employer-Provided Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 298-317, April.
    19. A. Werwatz, 1996. "How firm-specific is German apprenticeship training?," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 1996,12, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
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    Cited by:

    1. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2005. "The Effects of Globalization on Worker Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 4879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 327, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item


    On-the-job training; employment duration; sectorial mobility; industry-specific human capital; multinomial models; Formation en lieu de travail; durée de l'emploi; mobilité sectorielle; capital humain spécifique au secteur; modèles multinomiaux;

    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
    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies


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