Specificity of Occupational Training and Occupational Mobility: An Empirical Study Based on Lazear’s Skill-Weights Approach
According to standard human capital theory firm financed training cannot be explained if skills are of general nature. Nevertheless, investments of firms into general training can be observed and there has been a large literature to explain this puzzle, mostly referring to imperfect labor market issues. In German speaking countries firms invest heavily into apprenticeship training although it is assumed to be general. In our paper, we study the question to what extent apprenticeship training is general at all. Our paper for the first time studies how specificity of training may be defined based on Lazear’s skill-weights approach. In our empirical part we use a unique German Qualification Survey, containing extensive information about the required skills at a workplace. We build occupationspecific skill-weights and find that the more specific the skill portfolio in an occupation is in comparison to the general labor market, the higher are the net costs firms have to bear for apprenticeship training in the respective occupations. At the same time, the more specific the skill requirements are in an occupation, the smaller is the probability of an occupational change during an employee’s entire career. Due to the new definition of occupational specificity, we thus find that apprenticeship training - formerly seen as general training - is very heterogeneous in its specificity.
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