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Matching, Screening and Firm Investment in General Training: Theory and Evidence


  • Clark, Damon

    () (Nuffield College, Oxford)


When job matching is important, we show that firms will pay for general training under very weak conditions. The key ingredient in our model is the idea that it is more costly to screen skilled workers than it is to screen unskilled ones. In equilibrium, this 'softens' competition for trained workers, allowing firms to recoup training investments. We apply our model to a classic case of firm investment in general training - German Apprenticeship Training - and show that a key prediction of our model that is not shared by other models is strongly supported in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Clark, Damon, 2002. "Matching, Screening and Firm Investment in General Training: Theory and Evidence," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 A2-4, International Conferences on Panel Data.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpd:pd2002:a2-4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Dietmar Harhoff & Thomas J. Kane, 1993. "Financing Apprenticeship Training: Evidence from Germany," NBER Working Papers 4557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Wagner, Karin, 1998. "The German apprenticeship system after unification," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 98-301, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1982. "Limit Pricing and Entry under Incomplete Information: An Equilibrium Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(2), pages 443-459, March.
    4. Gary S. Becker, 1962. "Investment in Human Capital: A Theoretical Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70, pages 1-9.
    5. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448.
    6. McAfee, R. Preston & McMillan, John, 1987. "Auctions with entry," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 343-347.
    7. Scoones, David, 2000. "Matching and competition for human capital," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(2), pages 135-152, March.
    8. Euwals, Rob & Winkelmann, Rainer, 2001. "Why Do Firms Train? Empirical Evidence on the First Labour Market Outcomes of Graduated Apprentices," IZA Discussion Papers 319, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    9. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    10. 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.
    11. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-519, July.
    12. 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.
    13. Steven A. Matthews, 1995. "A Technical Primer on Auction Theory I: Independent Private Values," Discussion Papers 1096, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
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    More about this item


    General Training; Human Capital; Auctions; Wages;

    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
    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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