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Human Capital on the High Seas - Job Mobility and Returns to Technical Skill During Industrialization

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  • Glaser, Darrell
  • Rahman, Ahmed

Abstract

This paper examines the effects of engineer-oriented and technical experience on job mobility during an era known for its rapid technological innovation and capital advancements: the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We first develop an on-the-job search model to help us understand factors leading to job switching under rigid payment systems. Then, using longitudinal data on British and American naval officer- and engineer-careers, we demonstrate how ceteris paribus earnings-increases through promotions can decrease the probability of job switching. We also show how different forms of technical experience affect probabilities of job switching. Combining both insights and following a Topel and Ward (1992) based empirical framework, we find various rates of return to engineering and technical experience comparable to rates of return found today. To our knowledge these are the earliest historic estimates of returns to any type of technical skill.

Suggested Citation

  • Glaser, Darrell & Rahman, Ahmed, 2015. "Human Capital on the High Seas - Job Mobility and Returns to Technical Skill During Industrialization," MPRA Paper 68351, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:68351
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    human capital; job mobility; search theory; technological change; military personnel; naval history; skill premium;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • N3 - Economic History - - Labor and Consumers, Demography, Education, Health, Welfare, Income, Wealth, Religion, and Philanthropy

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