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Does Training Generally Work? The Returns to In-Company Training

  • Barrett, Alan

This paper applies the familiar theoretical distinction between general and specific training to the empirical task of estimating the returns to in-company training. Given the theoretical prediction that employees who receive general training are more likely to quit, the productivity effects of general training should be lower than those of specific training. Using a firm-level dataset which distinguishes between general and specific training, we test for the relative effects of the two types of training on productivity growth. We find, contrary to expectations, that although general training has a statistically positive effect on productivity growth, no such effect is observable for specific training. This positive effect of general training remains when we control for changes in work organization and corporate restructuring. Moreover, the impact of general training varies positively with the level of capital investment.

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File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=1879
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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 1879.

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Date of creation: Jun 1998
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1879
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  1. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 2001. "How To Compete: The Impact Of Workplace Practices And Information Technology On Productivity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(3), pages 434-445, August.
  2. Lisa M Lynch & Sandra E Black, 2002. "Beyond the Incidence of Training: Evidence from a National Employers Survey," Working Papers 02-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  3. Black, Sandra E & Lynch, Lisa M, 1996. "Human-Capital Investments and Productivity," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 263-67, May.
  4. Harry J. Holzer & Richard Block & Marcus Cheatham & Jack H. Knott, 1993. "Are training subsidies for firms effective? The Michigan experience," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(4), pages 625-636, July.
  5. Casey Ichniowski & Kathryn Shaw & Giovanna Prennushi, 1995. "The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 5333, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
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