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A Dynamic Analysis of Educational Attainment, Occupational Choices, and Job Search

  • Sullivan, Paul

This paper examines career choices using a dynamic structural model that nests a job search model within a human capital model of occupational and educational choices. Individuals in the model decide when to attend school and when to move between firms and occupations over the course of their career. Workers search for suitable wage and non-pecuniary match values at firms across occupations given their heterogeneous skill endowments and preferences for employment in each occupation. Over the course of their careers workers endogenously accumulate firm and occupation specific human capital that affects wages differently across occupations. The parameters of the model are estimated with simulated maximum likelihood using data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The structural parameter estimates reveal that both self-selection in occupational choices and mobility between firms account for a much larger share of total earnings and utility than the combined effects of firm and occupation specific human capital. Eliminating the gains from matching between workers and occupations would reduce total wages by 31%, eliminating the gains from job search would reduce wages by 19%, and eliminating the effects of firm and occupation specific human capital on wages would reduce wages by only 2.8%.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 3896.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision: Jun 2007
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:3896
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