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Experimentation and Job Choice

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In most models in which firms and workers learn about worker productivity through repeated observations of on-the-job performance, the amount of information revealed about workers is exogenously given and constant across jobs. In this paper, we examine what happens when the amount of information gathered about workers can be altered by assigning workers to different jobs. We show that informational differences across jobs naturally give rise to experimentation. That is, there is a trade off between current period output in order assign workers to jobs that reveal a substantial amount of information workers’ skills. We find that while experimentation is the most valuable when workers are young and inexperienced, the optimal level of experimentation is initially very small, rises as workers gain experience and then eventually declines. As a result, our model suggests that wage growth may be driven partly by a decline in experimentation as workers age. We also show that random productivity shocks can have long-lasting and, in some cases, permanent effects on both wages and wage growth.

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File URL: http://www.andrew.cmu.edu/user/limor/exp06.pdf
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Paper provided by Carnegie Mellon University, Tepper School of Business in its series GSIA Working Papers with number 2006-E41.

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Handle: RePEc:cmu:gsiawp:-1768369455
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Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213-3890

Web page: http://www.tepper.cmu.edu/

Order Information: Web: http://student-3k.tepper.cmu.edu/gsiadoc/GSIA_WP.asp

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  1. Miller, Robert A, 1984. "Job Matching and Occupational Choice," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(6), pages 1086-1120, December.
  2. David, Paul A. & Temin, Peter, 1974. "Slavery: The Progressive Institution?," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 34(03), pages 739-783, September.
  3. Philippe Aghion & Patrick Bolton & Christopher Harris & Bruno Jullien, 1991. "Optimal Learning by Experimentation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(4), pages 621-654.
  4. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
  5. Yamaguchi, Shintaro, 2010. "Career progression and comparative advantage," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(4), pages 679-689, August.
  6. Theodore Papageorgiou, 2014. "Learning Your Comparative Advantages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 81(3), pages 1263-1295.
  7. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 681-724, October.
  8. 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.
  9. Marigee P. Bacolod & Bernardo S. Blum, 2010. "Two Sides of the Same Coin: U.S. "Residual" Inequality and the Gender Gap," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 45(1).
  10. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2003. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1279-1333.
  11. Felli, Leonardo & Harris, Christopher, 1996. "Learning, Wage Dynamics, and Firm-Specific Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(4), pages 838-868, August.
  12. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  13. Jaime Ortega, 2001. "Job Rotation as a Learning Mechanism," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 47(10), pages 1361-1370, October.
  14. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-261, April.
  15. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1999. "A Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics Inside Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1321-1358.
  16. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2008. "Human Capital Specificity: Evidence from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Displaced Worker Surveys, 1984-2000," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 26(3), pages 387-420, 07.
  17. Chade, Hector & Schlee, Edward, 2002. "Another Look at the Radner-Stiglitz Nonconcavity in the Value of Information," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 107(2), pages 421-452, December.
  18. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 315-333.
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