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Human capital investment, Signaling, and Wage differentials

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  • Masashi Tanaka

    () (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)

Abstract

In the real world, two types of education investment may exist. One of these contributes to labor skills, and the other does not, corresponding to human capital and signal invest- ment, respectively. The question is how individuals determine the ratio of these alternative investments. In response, we formulate an overlapping generations economy where the rich and the poor invest in both types of education. We argue that the ratio of human capital to signal investment is a U-shaped function of the wage differentials between the rich and the poor. Moreover, we identify three patterns of stable steady states for these wage differentials, namely, no-inequality, high-inequality, and multiple steady states. Using these results, we conclude that exogenous factors, such as skill-biased technical change, may switch the steady state from no-inequality to high-inequality, and as a result, the ratio of human capital to signal investment changes in a U-shaped form during the transition to the new steady state.

Suggested Citation

  • Masashi Tanaka, 2013. "Human capital investment, Signaling, and Wage differentials," Discussion Papers in Economics and Business 13-31, Osaka University, Graduate School of Economics and Osaka School of International Public Policy (OSIPP).
  • Handle: RePEc:osk:wpaper:1331
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital investment; signal investment; wage differentials; multiple steady states; overlapping generations;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D80 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - General
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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