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Learning-By-Doing Vs. On-the-Job Training: Using Variation Induced by the EITC to Distinguish Between Models of Skill Formation

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  • James Heckman
  • Lance Lochner
  • Ricardo Cossa

Abstract

This paper investigates the impact of wage subsidies on skill formulation. We analyze two prototypical models of skill formation: (a) a learning-by-doing model and (b) an on-the-job training model. We develop conditions on the pricing of jobs under which the two models are equivalent. In general they are different and have different implications of wage subsidies on skill formation. On-the-job training models predict that wage subsidies reduce skill formation. Learning-by-doing models predict the opposite. The provisional evidence favors the learning-by-doing model. We apply our estimates to investigate the impact of the EITC on skill formation. We estimate that the EITC reduced the long term wages of participants with low levels of education.

Suggested Citation

  • James Heckman & Lance Lochner & Ricardo Cossa, 2002. "Learning-By-Doing Vs. On-the-Job Training: Using Variation Induced by the EITC to Distinguish Between Models of Skill Formation," NBER Working Papers 9083, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9083
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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