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Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence

Author

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  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Pischke, Jörn-Steffen

Abstract

This paper offers and tests a theory of training whereby workers do not pay for general training they receive. The crucial ingredient in our model is that the current employer has superior information about the worker’s ability relative to other firms. This informational advantage gives the employer an ex-post monopsony power over the worker which encourages the firm to provide training. We show that the model can lead to multiple equilibria. In one equilibrium quits are endogenously high and as a result employers have limited monopsony power and are willing to supply only little training, while in another equilibrium quits are low and training high. We also derive predictions from our model not shared by other explanations of firm-sponsored training. Using microdata from Germany, we show that the predictions of the specific human capital model are rejected, while our model receives support from the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1996. "Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1460
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Dietmar Harhoff & Thomas J. Kane, 1993. "Financing Apprenticeship Training: Evidence from Germany," NBER Working Papers 4557, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Entorf, Horst & Gollac, Michel & Kramarz, Francis, 1999. "New Technologies, Wages, and Worker Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(3), pages 464-491, July.
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    5. Imbens, Guido & van der Klaauw, Wilbert, 1995. "Evaluating the Cost of Conscription in The Netherlands," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 13(2), pages 207-215, April.
    6. repec:nsr:niesrd:10 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Abe Yukiko, 1994. "Specific Capital, Adverse Selection, and Turnover: A Comparison of the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 8(3), pages 272-292, September.
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    9. Nicholas Oulton & Hilary Steedman, 1994. "The British System of Youth Training: A Comparison with Germany," NBER Chapters,in: Training and the Private Sector: International Comparisons, pages 61-76 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    11. Daron Acemoglu, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 445-464.
    12. James Heckman, 1993. "Assessing Clinton's Program on Job Training, Workfare, and Education in the Workplace," NBER Working Papers 4428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Asymmetric Information; General Human Capital; German Apprenticeship System; Monopsony; Training;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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