Human capital investment, and the inefficiency of compensation based on marginal productivity: the static case
A simple extension of the traditional analysis of human capital accumulation is considered in a general equilibrium context. When real wages are equated to marginal products in the presence of human capital investment, resulting equilibria are almost never efficient even by very weak criteria. This is true even though labor is not a quasi-fixed factor, and informational asymmetries are excluded from the model. It is shown that human capital investment generates externalities, and has associated with it a “free-rider problem.” This, in turn, explains the common practice of employers requiring minimum levels of human capital accumulation for some employees, and refusing to hire “overqualified” workers for other positions.
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- Lazear, Edward P, 1981. "Agency, Earnings Profiles, Productivity, and Hours Restrictions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(4), pages 606-20, September.
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"Information,Screening and Human Capital,"
UCLA Economics Working Papers
064, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Spence, Michael, 1974. "Competitive and optimal responses to signals: An analysis of efficiency and distribution," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 296-332, March.
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