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Job Training: Costs, Returns, and Wage Profiles

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  • Jacob Mincer

Abstract

Using information on time costs of training and gains in wages attributable to training I computed rates of return on training investments. The range of estimates based on several data sets generally exceeds the magnitudes of rates of return usually observed for schooling investments. It is not clear, however, that the difference represents underinvestment in job training. Two methods were used to estimate total annual costs of job training in the U.S. economy, for 1958, 1976, and 1987. The "direct' calculation uses information on time spent in training and on wages. For 1976 so calculated costs amounted to 11.2% of Total Employee Compensation and a half of costs of school education. In the "indirect" method training costs were estimated from wage functions fitted to PSID data. In 1976 the direct estimate amounted to between 65% and 80% of the indirect estimate based on the wage profile. This result represents strong support for the human capital interpretation of wage profiles. The estimates indicate a slower growth of training than of school expenditures in the past decades. Substitution of schooling for job training is a likely cause.

Suggested Citation

  • Jacob Mincer, 1989. "Job Training: Costs, Returns, and Wage Profiles," NBER Working Papers 3208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:3208
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    1. Gary S. Becker & George J. Stigler, 1974. "Law Enforcement, Malfeasance, and Compensation of Enforcers," The Journal of Legal Studies, University of Chicago Press, vol. 3(1), pages 1-18, January.
    2. Barron, John M & Black, Dan A & Loewenstein, Mark A, 1989. "Job Matching and On-the-Job Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(1), pages 1-19, January.
    3. Harry J. Holzer, 1988. "The Determinants of Employee Productivity and Earnings: Some New Evidence," NBER Working Papers 2782, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Levine, David I, 1993. "Worth Waiting For? Delayed Compensation, Training, and Turnover in the United States and Japan," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 11(4), pages 724-752, October.
    2. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00193372 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Philippe Lemistre & Jean-Michel Plassard, 2002. "Stratégies de mobilité et rendements de l'ancienneté en France," Économie et Prévision, Programme National Persée, vol. 155(4), pages 45-60.
    4. Almeida, Rita & Carneiro, Pedro, 2009. "The return to firm investments in human capital," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(1), pages 97-106, January.
    5. Almeida, Rita K. & Carneiro, Pedro, 2006. "The Return to the Firm Investment in Human Capital," IZA Discussion Papers 1937, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Merja Kauhanen & Jouko Nätti, 2015. "Involuntary Temporary and Part-Time Work, Job Quality and Well-Being at Work," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 120(3), pages 783-799, February.
    7. Rita Almeida & Marta Faria, 2014. "The wage returns to on-the-job training: evidence from matched employer-employee data," IZA Journal of Labor & Development, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 3(1), pages 1-33, December.
    8. Ingram, B.F. & DeJong, D.N. & Whiteman, C.H. & Wen, Y., 1996. "Cyclical Implications of the Variable Utilization of Physical and Human Capital," Working Papers 96-12, University of Iowa, Department of Economics.
    9. Yanick Labrie & Claude Montmarquette, 2005. "La formation qualifiante et transférable en milieu de travail," CIRANO Project Reports 2005rp-04, CIRANO.
    10. Nathalie Havet & Catherine Sofer, 2008. "Why Do Women's Wages Increase So Slowly Throughout Their Career? A Dynamic Model of Statistical Discrimination," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(2), pages 291-314, June.
    11. Christophe Nordman & François-Charles Wolff, 2007. "On-the-job learning and earnings in Benin, Morocco and Senegal," Working Papers DT/2007/09, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    12. Destré, Guillaume & Nordman, Christophe, 2002. "Les effets de la formation informelle sur les gains : une comparaison sur données appariées françaises, marocaines et tunisiennes," L'Actualité Economique, Société Canadienne de Science Economique, vol. 78(2), pages 179-206, Juin.
    13. Galdo, Jose & Chong, Alberto, 2012. "Does the quality of public-sponsored training programs matter? Evidence from bidding processes data," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(6), pages 970-986.

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