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Career and Skill Formation: A Dynamic Occupational Choice Model With Multidimensional Skills

  • Shintaro Yamaguchi

    (McMaster University)

The objective of the paper is to construct and estimate a dynamic structural model of schooling and occupational choice at the three-digit classification level, in which different occupations involve different mix of tasks. In the model, occupations are characterized by complexity of various tasks. Unlike occupational specific human capital, skills used in one occupation help a worker to enter a new occupation, depending on the similarity of the tasks of the two. Individuals build up their skills in low-paying occupations that provide relevant experience before they enter a high-paying occupation. Hence, low skill occupations can be viewed as “stepping stone” to better occupations. The structural parameters of the model are estimated using the occupational characteristics in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and the work history in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 79. I find that the model does a good job of fitting the data on occupational choices: individuals gradually move from low-skill occupations to high-skill occupations.

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File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2007/paper_729.pdf
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Paper provided by Society for Economic Dynamics in its series 2007 Meeting Papers with number 729.

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Date of creation: 2007
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Handle: RePEc:red:sed007:729
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Society for Economic Dynamics Marina Azzimonti Department of Economics Stonybrook University 10 Nicolls Road Stonybrook NY 11790 USA

Web page: http://www.EconomicDynamics.org/
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  1. Robert Gibbons & Lawrence F. Katz & Thomas Lemieux & Daniel Parent, 2002. "Comparative Advantage, Learning, and Sectoral Wage Determination," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-35, CIRANO.
  2. Yamaguchi, Shintaro, 2010. "The effect of match quality and specific experience on career decisions and wage growth," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 407-423, April.
  3. Gathmann, Christina & Schönberg, Uta, 2006. "How General Is Specific Human Capital?," IZA Discussion Papers 2485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. Rubinstein, Yona & Weiss, Yoram, 2006. "Post Schooling Wage Growth: Investment, Search and Learning," Handbook of the Economics of Education, Elsevier.
  5. Jovanovic, Boyan & Nyarko, Yaw, 1997. "Stepping-stone mobility," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(1), pages 289-325, June.
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  8. Ingram, Beth F. & Neumann, George R., 2006. "The returns to skill," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 13(1), pages 35-59, February.
  9. Michael P. Keane & Kenneth I. Wolpin, 1995. "The career decisions of young men," Working Papers 559, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  10. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  11. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
  12. Gueorgui Kambourov & Iourii Manovskii, 2009. "Occupational Specificity Of Human Capital," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 63-115, 02.
  13. Donghoon Lee, 2005. "An Estimable Dynamic General Equilibrium Model Of Work, Schooling, And Occupational Choice," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 46(1), pages 1-34, 02.
  14. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1998. "Tax Policy and Human Capital Formation," NBER Working Papers 6462, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Neal, Derek, 1999. "The Complexity of Job Mobility among Young Men," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(2), pages 237-61, April.
  16. Henry S. Farber & Robert Gibbons, 1996. "Learning and Wage Dynamics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(4), pages 1007-1047.
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