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The Production of Human Capital and the Lifecycle of Earnings: Variations on a Theme

  • Jacob Mincer
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    After a brief summary of Ben Porath's 1967 model approach, I enquire into the empirical validity and some implications of his insights. Section 2 is an attempt to answer the question: Are the shapes and magnitudes of growth in wage profiles largely attributable to human capital investments? Section 3 tests the proposition that over the working age capacity wages (i.e. wages before netting out investment) decline before observed wages do. Implied timing of labor supply provides the test. The findings shed light on developments in the U.S. labor market in the past several decades. In section 4 some implications are drawn from Ben Porath's model for interpersonal differences and historical changes in life-cycle human capital investments. The positive correlation between schooling and training, predicted by the model is found in cross-sections. It also shows up in parallel movements in schooling and training in the 1980's as the demand for human capital increased. Once again, observed U.S. patterns are highlighted.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w4838.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 4838.

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    Date of creation: Aug 1994
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    Publication status: published as Journal of Labor Economics, vol.15, no.1, Part 2, January 1997
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:4838
    Note: LS
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    1. 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.
    2. Harvey Rosen, 1982. "Taxation and On-The-Job Training Decisions," Working Papers 531, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
    4. Jacob Mincer, 1986. "Wage Changes in Job Changes," NBER Working Papers 1907, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
    6. Steven G. Allen, 1996. "Technology and the Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 5534, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Stafford, Frank & Duncan, Greg J., 1979. "The Use of Time and Technology by Households in the United States," Working Paper Series 21, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    8. Blinder, Alan S & Weiss, Yoram, 1976. "Human Capital and Labor Supply: A Synthesis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(3), pages 449-72, June.
    9. Salop, Joanne & Salop, Steven, 1976. "Self-Selection and Turnover in the Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 619-27, November.
    10. Joanne Salop & Steve Salop, 1976. "Self-selection and turnover in the labor market," Special Studies Papers 80, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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