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Match Effects

  • Woodcock, Simon

We present an empirical model of earnings that controls for observable and unobservable characteristics of workers (person effects), unmeasured characteristics of their employers (firm effects), and unmeasured characteristics of worker-firm matches (match effects). We interpret these as the returns to general human capital, firm-specific human capital, and match-specific human capital, respectively. We stress the importance of match effects because the returns to match-specific human capital will be incorrectly attributed to general and/or firm-specific human capital when match effects are omitted, and because general and specific human capital have very different implications for the economic cost of job destruction. We find that slightly more than half of observed variation in log earnings is attributable to general human capital, 22 percent is attributable to firm-specific human capital, and 16 percent to match-specific human capital. Specifications that omit match effects over-estimate the returns to experience by as much as 50 percent, over-estimate the returns to a college education by as much as 8 percent, attribute too much variation to person effects, and too little to firm effects. Our results suggest that considerable earnings variation previously attributed to general human capital -- both observed and unobserved -- is in fact attributable to workers sorting into higher-paying firms and better worker-firm matches.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 154.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:154
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  1. Hausman, Jerry A & Taylor, William E, 1981. "Panel Data and Unobservable Individual Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 49(6), pages 1377-98, November.
  2. Andrews, Martyn J. & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2004. "Practical estimation methods for linked employer-employee data," Discussion Papers 29, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  3. Gruetter, Max & Lalive, Rafael, 2009. "The importance of firms in wage determination," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 149-160, April.
  4. Topel, Robert H & Ward, Michael P, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-79, May.
  5. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Andrews, Martyn J. & Gill, Len & Schank, Thorsten & Upward, Richard, 2006. "High wage workers and low wage firms : negative assortative matching or statistical artefact?," Discussion Papers 42, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Chair of Labour and Regional Economics.
  7. Altonji, Joseph G & Shakotko, Robert A, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 437-59, July.
  8. Dostie, Benoit, 2005. "Job Turnover and the Returns to Seniority," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 23, pages 192-199, April.
  9. John M. Abowd & Francis Kramarz & David N. Margolis, 1994. "High Wage Workers and High Wage Firms," NBER Working Papers 4917, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. 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.
  11. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. John M. Abowd & Paul A. Lengermann & Kevin L. McKinney, 2002. "The Measurement of Human Capital in the U.S. Economy," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-09, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau, revised Mar 2003.
  13. John M. Abowd & Bryce E. Stephens & Lars Vilhuber & Fredrik Andersson & Kevin L. McKinney & Marc Roemer & Simon Woodcock, 2002. "The LEHD Infrastructure Files and the Creation of the Quarterly Workforce Indicators," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. John M. Abowd (corresponding) & Francis Kramarz, 2004. "Are Good Workers Employed by Good Firms? A Simple Test of Positive Assortative Matching Models," Econometric Society 2004 North American Winter Meetings 385, Econometric Society.
  15. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. 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.
  17. Mitchel Y. Abolafia (ed.), 2005. "Markets," Books, Edward Elgar, number 2788.
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