Cyclical Employment and Learning Ability
I empirically document that ability is an important determinant of individual employment rates over the business cycle. Using the Armed Forces Qualication Test score as a proxy for individual ability, I find that high ability workers have a less procyclical employment rate than low ability workers even after conditioning on experience, education or average hourly wage. Moreover, the ability and education effect on employment cyclicality decreases over the life-cycle but the ability effect decreases much more gradually than the education effect. In the second part of the paper, I build a life-cycle model with human capital accumulation through learning-by-doing where agents have heterogeneous learning ability. High ability agents have a steeper human capital accumulation slope which delivers high future labor income. In recession, employment rates for all agents fall due to low labor income. However, high ability agents' employment rate decreases less than others because the current employment increases future labor income. The calibrated model, which simultaneously matches employment and wage proles, is consistent with the major cyclical properties observed in the data.
|Date of creation:||2013|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: 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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