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Human Capital and the Size Distribution of Firms

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  • Gomes, Pedro Maia

    (Birkbeck, University of London)

  • Kuehn, Zoë

    (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)

Abstract

Countries that have relatively fewer workers with a secondary education have smaller firms. The shortage of skilled workers limits the growth of more productive firms. Two factors influence the availability of skilled workers: i) the education level of the workforce and ii) large public sectors that predominantly hire individuals with a better education. We set up a model economy with a government and private firm formation where production requires unskilled and skilled jobs. Workers with a secondary education are pivotal as they can perform both types of jobs. We find that level of education and public sector employment account for 40-45% of the differences between the United States and Mexico in terms of average firm size, GDP per capita, and GDP per hour worked. We also show that the impact of public employment on skill premiums and productivity measures depends on the skill bias in public hiring.

Suggested Citation

  • Gomes, Pedro Maia & Kuehn, Zoë, 2014. "Human Capital and the Size Distribution of Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 8268, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp8268
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    2. Nezih Guner & Andrii Parkhomenko & Gustavo Ventura, 2018. "Managers and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 256-282, July.
    3. Geromichalos, Athanasios & Kospentaris, Ioannis, 2022. "The unintended consequences of meritocratic government hiring," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 144(C).
    4. Garibaldi, Pietro & Gomes, Pedro & Sopraseuth, Thepthida, 2021. "Public employment redux," Journal of Government and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(C).
    5. Andri Chassamboulli & Pedro Gomes, 2018. "Meritocracy, Public-Sector Pay and Human Capital Accumulation," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 08-2018, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    6. Prettner, Klaus & Strulik, Holger, 2018. "Trade and productivity: The family connection redux," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 276-291.
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    8. Saras D. Sarasvathy, 2021. "The Middle Class of Business: Endurance as a Dependent Variable in Entrepreneurship," Entrepreneurship Theory and Practice, , vol. 45(5), pages 1054-1082, September.
    9. Diogo Baerlocher, 2022. "Public employment and economic growth," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 73(1), pages 211-236, February.
    10. Pedro Mazeda Gil & Gustavo Iglésias,, 2018. "Endogenous Growth and Real Effects of Monetary Policy: R&D and Physical Capital Complementarities in a Cash-in-Advance Economy," CEF.UP Working Papers 1802, Universidade do Porto, Faculdade de Economia do Porto.
    11. Nezih Guner & Andrii Parkhomenko & Gustavo Ventura, 2018. "Managers and Productivity Differences," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 29, pages 256-282, July.
    12. Fix, Blair, 2016. "Energy and Institution Size," Working Papers on Capital as Power 2016/04, Capital As Power - Toward a New Cosmology of Capitalism.
    13. Blair Fix, 2017. "Energy and institution size," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 12(2), pages 1-22, February.
    14. Andri Chassamboulli & Pedro Gomes, 2019. "Public-Sector Employment, Wages and Human Capital Accumulation," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 07-2019, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    15. Chang, Ching-Fu & Wang, Ping & Liu, Jin-Tan, 2016. "Knowledge spillovers, human capital and productivity," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 47(PB), pages 214-232.
    16. Pedro Mazeda Gil & Gustavo Iglésias, 2020. "Endogenous Growth and Real Effects of Monetary Policy: R&D and Physical Capital Complementarities," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 52(5), pages 1147-1197, August.
    17. Pokrovsky, D. & Shapoval, A., 2015. "Distribution of Entrepreneurial Skills and Migration: Employment Structure, Income Inequality, and Welfare," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 26(2), pages 36-62.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    firm size; educational attainment; skill complementarities; public employment; college premium; high school premium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • H30 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - General
    • O11 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Macroeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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