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A Product Market Theory of Worker Training

  • Gersbach, Hans

    ()

    (ETH Zurich)

  • Schmutzler, Armin

    ()

    (University of Zurich)

We develop a product market theory that explains why firms invest in general training of their workers. We consider a model where firms first decide whether to invest in general human capital, then make wage offers for each others’ trained employees and finally engage in imperfect product market competition. Equilibria with and without training, and multiple equilibria can emerge. If competition is sufficiently soft and trained workers are substitutes, firms may invest in non-specific training if others do the same, because they would otherwise suffer a competitive disadvantage or need to pay high wages in order to attract trained workers. Government intervention can be socially desirable to turn training into a focal equilibrium.

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File URL: http://ftp.iza.org/dp327.pdf
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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 327.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2001
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Product markets and industry-specific training" in: The RAND Journal of Economics, 2012, 43 (3), 475-491
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp327
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  2. Christoph Luelfesmann, 2000. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 0659, Econometric Society.
  3. 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.
  4. Kremer, Michael, 1993. "The O-Ring Theory of Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 108(3), pages 551-75, August.
  5. Gersbach, Hans & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "A Product Market Theory of Worker Training," IZA Discussion Papers 327, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Milgrom, Paul & Roberts, John, 1990. "The Economics of Modern Manufacturing: Technology, Strategy, and Organization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 511-28, June.
  7. Lars Vilhuber, 1997. "Sector-Specific On-the-Job Training: Evidence from U.S. Data," CIRANO Working Papers 97s-42, CIRANO.
  8. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Athey, Susan & Schmutzler, Armin, 2001. "Investment and Market Dominance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 32(1), pages 1-26, Spring.
  10. Hans Gersbach & Armin Schmutzler, 2003. "Endogenous spillovers and incentives to innovate," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 21(1), pages 59-79, 01.
  11. Prendergast, Canice, 1992. "Career development and specific human capital collection," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 6(3), pages 207-227, September.
  12. Goux, Dominique & Maurin, Eric, 2000. "Returns to firm-provided training: evidence from French worker-firm matched data1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
  13. Chang, Chun & Wang, Yijiang, 1996. "Human Capital Investment under Asymmetric Information: The Pigovian Conjecture Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(3), pages 505-19, July.
  14. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  15. Chun Chang & Wang, Yijiang, 1995. "A framework for understanding differences in labor turnover and human capital investment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 91-105, September.
  16. Acemoglu, Daron, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 64(3), pages 445-64, July.
  17. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  18. Lars Vilhuber, 1999. "Sector-Specific Training and Mobility in Germany," CIRANO Working Papers 99s-03, CIRANO.
  19. Loewenstein, Mark A & Spletzer, James R, 1998. "Dividing the Costs and Returns to General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 142-71, January.
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