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Horizontal Transfer and Promotion: New Evidence and an Interpretation from the Perspective of Task-Specific Human Capital


  • Sasaki, Masaru

    () (Osaka University)

  • Takii, Katsuya

    () (Osaka University)

  • Wan, Junmin

    () (Fukuoka University)


This paper provides new evidence about horizontal transfer and promotion using the largest available personnel panel data in Japan and interprets them from the perspective of task-specific human capital. We find that firms synchronize their employees’ promotion and horizontal transfers. Then, we show theoretically that task-specific human capital can naturally generate such synchronization. We also find that the directors in an accounting department have the highest probability of being promoted to become board members, while those in a research department have the lowest. This suggests that top managers need a balanced skill set, in which allocative skill is relatively important.

Suggested Citation

  • Sasaki, Masaru & Takii, Katsuya & Wan, Junmin, 2012. "Horizontal Transfer and Promotion: New Evidence and an Interpretation from the Perspective of Task-Specific Human Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 6486, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6486

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Takii, Katsuya, 2008. "Fiscal policy and entrepreneurship," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 65(3-4), pages 592-608, March.
    2. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Wage Policy of a Firm," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 921-955.
    3. Michael Waldman, 1984. "Job Assignments, Signalling, and Efficiency," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 255-267, Summer.
    4. Christina Gathmann & Uta Schönberg, 2010. "How General Is Human Capital? A Task-Based Approach," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(1), pages 1-49, January.
    5. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2004. "Task-Specific Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 203-207, May.
    6. Katsuya Takii, 2003. "Prediction Ability," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 6(1), pages 80-98, January.
    7. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1999. "A Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics Inside Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1321-1358.
    8. George Baker & Michael Gibbs & Bengt Holmstrom, 1994. "The Internal Economics of the Firm: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(4), pages 881-919.
    9. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
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    More about this item


    rotation; promotion; task-specific human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • M51 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics - - - Firm Employment Decisions; Promotions

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