IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/8889.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination

Author

Listed:
  • Robert Gibbons
  • Lawrence F. Katz
  • Thomas Lemieux
  • Daniel Parent

Abstract

We develop a model in which a worker's skills determine the worker's current wage and sector. Both the market and the worker are initially uncertain about some of the worker's skills. Endogenous wage changes and sector mobility occur as labor-market participants learn about these unobserved skills. We show how the model can be estimated using non-linear instrumental-variables techniques. We then apply our methodology to study the wages and allocation of workers across occupations and across industries. For both occupations and industries, we find that high-wage sectors employ high-skill workers and offer high returns to workers' skills. Estimates of these sectoral wage differences that do not account for sector-specific returns are therefore misleading. We also suggest further applications of our theory and methodology.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2002. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 8889, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8889
    Note: EFG LS
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w8889.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. Hansen, Lars Peter, 1982. "Large Sample Properties of Generalized Method of Moments Estimators," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(4), pages 1029-1054, July.
    3. Kevin J. Murphy, 1986. "Incentives, Learning, and Compensation: A Theoretical and Empirical Investigation of Managerial Labor Contracts," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 59-76, Spring.
    4. Donald, Stephen G & Newey, Whitney K, 2001. "Choosing the Number of Instruments," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 69(5), pages 1161-1191, September.
    5. Altonji, Joseph G & Segal, Lewis M, 1996. "Small-Sample Bias in GMM Estimation of Covariance Structures," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 14(3), pages 353-366, July.
    6. McLaughlin, Kenneth J & Bils, Mark, 2001. "Interindustry Mobility and the Cyclical Upgrading of Labor," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(1), pages 94-135, January.
    7. Pierre-Andre Chiappori & Bernard Salanie & Julie Valentin, 1999. "Early Starters versus Late Beginners," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(4), pages 731-760, August.
    8. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. McKinley Blackburn & David Neumark, 1992. "Unobserved Ability, Efficiency Wages, and Interindustry Wage Differentials," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1421-1436.
    10. Newey, Whitney K, 1990. "Efficient Instrumental Variables Estimation of Nonlinear Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(4), pages 809-837, July.
    11. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-677, October.
    12. Holtz-Eakin, Douglas & Newey, Whitney & Rosen, Harvey S, 1988. "Estimating Vector Autoregressions with Panel Data," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(6), pages 1371-1395, November.
    13. Heckman, James J & Honore, Bo E, 1990. "The Empirical Content of the Roy Model," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 58(5), pages 1121-1149, September.
    14. Griliches, Zvi & Hausman, Jerry A., 1986. "Errors in variables in panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 93-118, February.
    15. Borjas, George J. & Bronars, Stephen G. & Trejo, Stephen J., 1992. "Self-selection and internal migration in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-185, September.
    16. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-261, April.
    17. MacDonald, Glenn M, 1982. "A Market Equilibrium Theory of Job Assignment and Sequential Accumulation of Information," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1038-1055, December.
    18. Stephanie Lluis, 2005. "The Role of Comparative Advantage and Learning in Wage Dynamics and Intrafirm Mobility: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 725-768, October.
    19. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
    20. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, December.
    21. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence Katz, 1992. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differentials?," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 59(3), pages 515-535.
    22. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the Public and Private Sectors," Working Papers 662, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    23. Stephen Ross & Paul Taubman & Michael L. Wachter, 1981. "Learning by Observing and the Distribution of Wages," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 359-386, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    24. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-553, September.
    25. Joseph G. Altonji & Charles R. Pierret, 2001. "Employer Learning and Statistical Discrimination," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(1), pages 313-350.
    26. Neal, Derek & Rosen, Sherwin, 2000. "Theories of the distribution of earnings," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.),Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 379-427, Elsevier.
    27. Lemieux, Thomas, 1998. "Estimating the Effects of Unions on Wage Inequality in a Panel Data Model with Comparative Advantage and Nonrandom Selection," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(2), pages 261-291, April.
    28. James Heckman & Jose Scheinkman, 1987. "The Importance of Bundling in a Gorman-Lancaster Model of Earnings," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 54(2), pages 243-255.
    29. Gibbons, R. & Katz, L., 1989. "Does Unmeasured Ability Explain Inter-Industry Wage Differences," Working papers 543, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    30. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1982. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 49(3), pages 315-333.
    31. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-293, March.
    32. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-990, October.
    33. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2005. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 681-724, October.
    34. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    35. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Mincer, Jacob & Higuchi, Yoshio, 1988. "Wage structures and labor turnover in the United States and Japan," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 2(2), pages 97-133, June.
    37. Fabian Lange, 2005. "The Returns to Schooling and Ability During the Early Career: Evidence on Employer Learning and Post-School Investment," 2005 Meeting Papers 253, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    38. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 1998. "A Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics in Internal Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 6454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    39. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
    40. Kim, Dae Il, 1998. "Reinterpreting Industry Premiums: Match-Specific Productivity," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(3), pages 479-504, July.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Stephanie Lluis, 2005. "The Role of Comparative Advantage and Learning in Wage Dynamics and Intrafirm Mobility: Evidence from Germany," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 23(4), pages 725-768, October.
    2. Derek Neal & Sherwin Rosen, 1998. "Theories of the Distribution of Labor Earnings," NBER Working Papers 6378, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Xin Jin, 2014. "The Signaling Role of Not Being Promoted: Theory and Evidence," Working Papers 0314, University of South Florida, Department of Economics.
    4. LLUIS, Stéphanie, 2001. "Wage Policy of Firms: an Empirical Investigation," Cahiers de recherche 2001-18, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
    5. Jin, Xin, 2014. "The Signaling Role of Note Being Promoted: Theory and Evidence," MPRA Paper 58484, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    6. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2373-2437 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Robert Gibbons & Michael Waldman, 2006. "Enriching a Theory of Wage and Promotion Dynamics inside Firms," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(1), pages 59-108, January.
    8. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
    9. Gruetter, Max & Lalive, Rafael, 2009. "The importance of firms in wage determination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-160, April.
    10. Stefan Bender & Till von Wachter, 2006. "In the Right Place at the Wrong Time: The Role of Firms and Luck in Young Workers' Careers," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(5), pages 1679-1705, December.
    11. Dohmen, Thomas J., 2004. "Performance, seniority, and wages: formal salary systems and individual earnings profiles," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(6), pages 741-763, December.
    12. Ralph Stinebrickner & Todd Stinebrickner & Paul Sullivan, 2019. "Job Tasks, Time Allocation, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 37(2), pages 399-433.
    13. David H. Autor & Michael J. Handel, 2013. "Putting Tasks to the Test: Human Capital, Job Tasks, and Wages," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 31(S1), pages 59-96.
    14. Woodcock Simon D, 2010. "Heterogeneity and Learning in Labor Markets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 10(1), pages 1-69, September.
    15. Daniel Parent, 2009. "The effect of pay-for-performance contracts on wages," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 269-295, May.
    16. Eric A. Hanushek & Jens Ruhose & Ludger Woessmann, 2017. "Knowledge Capital and Aggregate Income Differences: Development Accounting for US States," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 9(4), pages 184-224, October.
    17. Carl Sanders & Christopher Taber, 2012. "Life-Cycle Wage Growth and Heterogeneous Human Capital," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 4(1), pages 399-425, July.
    18. Amir Borges Ferreira Neto & Ricardo Da Silva Fregugli, 2014. "How Much Does Talent Matter? Evidences From The Brazilian Formal Cultural Industry," Anais do XLI Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 41st Brazilian Economics Meeting] 233, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pós-Graduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    19. Bas Klaauw & António Dias da Silva, 2011. "Wage dynamics and promotions inside and between firms," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 24(4), pages 1513-1548, October.
    20. repec:eee:labchp:v:3:y:1999:i:pb:p:2439-2483 is not listed on IDEAS
    21. Nakabayashi, Masaki, 2011. "Schooling, employer learning, and internal labor market effect: Wage dynamics and human capital investment in the Japanese steel industry, 1930-1960s," MPRA Paper 30597, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    22. Philip Du Caju & François Rycx & Ilan Tojerow, 2011. "Inter‐Industry Wage Differentials: How Much Does Rent Sharing Matter?," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 79(4), pages 691-717, July.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:8889. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.