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Is Education Used as a Signaling Device for Productivity in Developing Countries? Evidence from Ghana

  • Strobl, Eric

    ()

    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

This paper investigates whether education is used as a signaling device for worker productivity in developing countries. To do such we employ a simple test of employer learning on Ghana manufacturing data. We find no evidence of educational signaling for individuals who were hired through direct contacts in the firm, and thus for workers for which employers arguably have more information about their true abilities. In contrast, education acts as signal for workers who were hired through more formal channels, although only for those that do not receive on-the-job-training.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 683.

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Length: 18 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2003
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Do employers use education as a signal for ability in developing countries? Evidence from Ghana" in: Applied Economics Letters, 2004, 11(4), 259-261
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp683
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  1. Bauer, Thomas & Haisken-DeNew, John P, 2000. "Employer Learning And The Returns To Schooling," CEPR Discussion Papers 2445, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Albrecht, J.W. & van Ours, J.C., 2001. "Using Employer Hiring Behavior to Test the Educational Signaling Hypothesis," Discussion Paper 2001-49, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
  3. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 1997. "Employer learning and statistical discrimination," Working Paper Series, Macroeconomic Issues WP-97-11, Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.
  4. Harley Frazis, 2002. "Human capital, signaling, and the pattern of returns to education," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 298-320, April.
  5. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
  6. Kelly Bedard, . "Human Capital Versus Signaling Models: University Access and High School Drop-outs," Canadian International Labour Network Working Papers 19, McMaster University.
  7. Psacharopoulos, George, 1979. "On the weak versus the strong version of the screening hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 181-185.
  8. Lang, Kevin, 1994. "Does the Human-Capital/Educational-Sorting Debate Matter for Development Policy?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 353-58, March.
  9. Albrecht, James W., 1980. "A Procedure for Testing the Signalling Hypothesis," Working Paper Series 29, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  10. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  11. Behrman, Jere R., 1999. "Labor markets in developing countries," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 43, pages 2859-2939 Elsevier.
  12. Byrne, David & Strobl, Eric, 2004. "Defining unemployment in developing countries: evidence from Trinidad and Tobago," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 465-476, February.
  13. 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.
  14. Layard, Richard & Psacharopoulos, George, 1974. "The Screening Hypothesis and the Returns to Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 985-98, Sept./Oct.
  15. Andrew Weiss, 1995. "Human Capital vs. Signalling Explanations of Wages," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 133-154, Fall.
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