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Career and Skill Formation: A Dynamic Occupational Choice Model with Multidimensional Skills

  • Shintaro Yamaguchi

The goal of the paper is two-folds. First, I construct and estimate a dynamic structural occupational choice model at the three-digit classification level, in which different occupations involve different mix of tasks. Second, I conduct a counterfactual simulation using the estimated model, to quantify the effects of progressive income tax on post-schooling human capital investment and occupational choices. In the model, various skills are acquired through learning-by-doing, depending on the tasks of the experienced occupations. The key feature of the model is that, unlike occupation specific human capital, the acquired skills can be partly transferred to other occupations. Hence, some of low skill occupations can be viewed as “stepping stone” to better occupations. The structural parameters of the model are estimated using the occupational characteristics in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the work history in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79. The results of a counterfactual simulation in the estimated model indicate that switching to a flat income tax encourages mobility to highpaying occupations and accelerates human capital accumulation. A drawback of the tax code change is an increased inequality between educational groups.

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File URL: http://socserv.mcmaster.ca/econ/rsrch/papers/archive/2007-02.pdf
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Paper provided by McMaster University in its series Department of Economics Working Papers with number 2007-02.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mcm:deptwp:2007-02
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  1. Boyan Jovanovic & Yaw Nyarko, 1996. "Stepping Stone Mobility," NBER Working Papers 5651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Ronni Pavan, 2011. "Career Choice and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(3), pages 549 - 587.
  3. Donghoon Lee, 2005. "An Estimable Dynamic General Equilibrium Model Of Work, Schooling, And Occupational Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(1), pages 1-34, 02.
  4. Iourii Manovskii & Gueorgui Kambourov, 2004. "Occupational Specificity of Human Capital," 2004 Meeting Papers 197, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  5. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1988. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," NBER Working Papers 2649, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 1997. "The Career Decisions of Young Men," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(3), pages 473-522, June.
  7. Farber, Henry S & Gibbons, Robert, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-47, November.
  8. Heckman, James J & Lochner, Lance & Taber, Christopher, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human-Capital Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(2), pages 293-97, May.
  9. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  10. Rubinstein, Yona & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Post Schooling Wage Growth: Investment, Search and Learning," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  11. Gathmann, Christina & Schönberg, Uta, 2006. "How General Is Specific Human Capital?," IZA Discussion Papers 2485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  12. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  13. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2004. "Task-Specific Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 203-207, May.
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