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On-the-job learning and earnings in Benin, Morocco and Senegal


  • Christophe Nordman

    () (DIAL, IRD, Paris)

  • François-Charles Wolff

    () (LEN, Université de Nantes, CNAV, INED)


(english) In this paper, we consider a model of on-the-job learning where workers learn informally by watching and imitating colleagues. We estimate the rate of knowledge diffusion inside the firm using three matched worker-firm data sets from Benin, Morocco and Senegal. We rely on non-linear least squares to estimate the structural parameters of the informal learning model and account for unobserved firm heterogeneity using firm factors derived from a principal component analysis. We find that the rate of knowledge diffusion is around 7 percent in Morocco and Senegal and much higher in Benin, but part of the learning-bywatching returns stems from firm heterogeneity. Informal training significantly affects the shape of returns to tenure in African countries. Finally, we estimate an extended model with both learning-by-watching and learning-by-doing and find significant benefits from imitating colleagues in Morocco.

Suggested Citation

  • Christophe Nordman & François-Charles Wolff, 2007. "On-the-job learning and earnings in Benin, Morocco and Senegal," Working Papers DT/2007/09, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt200709

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Nathalie Greenan & Jacques Mairesse, 1999. "Using Employee Level Data in a Firm Level Econometric Study," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-12, CIRANO.
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    10. Harley Frazis & Mark A. Loewenstein, 2005. "Reexamining the Returns to Training: Functional Form, Magnitude, and Interpretation," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 40(2).
    11. 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.
    12. Card, David, 1999. "The causal effect of education on earnings," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 30, pages 1801-1863 Elsevier.
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    More about this item


    Earnings functions; informal training; learning-by-watching; learning-by-doing; returns to tenure; African countries;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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