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The Effect of EmployerProvided General Training on Turnover: Examination of Tuition Reimbursement Programs

  • Colleen Flaherty

    ()

    (Stanford University)

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    Tuition reimbursement programs provide financial assistance for direct costs of education and are a type of general skills training program commonly offered by employers in the United States. Standard human capital theory argues that investment in firm-specific skills reduces turnover, while investment in general skills training could result in increased turnover. However, firms cite increased retention as a motivation for offering tuition reimbursement programs. This rationale for offering these programs challenges the predictions of the standard human capital model. This paper tests empirically whether tuition reimbursement programs increase employee retention. The empirical analysis combines two data sources: a case study of a non-profit institution and the Survey of Employer-Provided Training, 1995 (SEPT95), which consists of training data collected from a cross section of establishments. From the case study analysis, this paper finds that participation in tuition reimbursement increases retention. Results from SEPT95 confirm this finding. These results are consistent with a theory in which investment in general human capital is used to complement investments in firm-specific human capital.

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    File URL: http://www-siepr.stanford.edu/repec/sip/06-025.pdf
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    Paper provided by Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research in its series Discussion Papers with number 06-025.

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    Date of creation: Feb 2007
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    Handle: RePEc:sip:dpaper:06-025
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    1. Acemoglu, D. & Pischki, J.S., 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," Working papers 96-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Barrett, Alan, 1998. "Does Training Generally Work? The Returns to In-Company Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1879, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Imbens, Guido W & Angrist, Joshua D, 1994. "Identification and Estimation of Local Average Treatment Effects," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(2), pages 467-75, March.
    4. Lisa M. Lynch & Sandra E. Black, 1998. "Beyond the incidence of employer-provided training," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(1), pages 64-81, October.
    5. Kenny, Lawrence W, et al, 1979. "Returns to College Education: An Investigation of Self-Selection Bias Based on the Project Talent Data," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 20(3), pages 775-89, October.
    6. Cappelli, Peter, 2004. "Why do employers pay for college?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 121(1-2), pages 213-241.
    7. Sandra E. Black & Lisa M. Lynch, 1997. "How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 6120, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Mark A. Loewenstein & James R. Spletzer, 1999. "General and Specific Training: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 710-733.
    9. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    10. Feuer, M. & Glick, H. & Desai, A., 1987. "Is firm-sponsored education viable?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 8(1), pages 121-136, March.
    11. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Pencavel, John H, 1972. "Wages, Specific Training, and Labor Turnover in US Manufacturing Industries," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 13(1), pages 53-64, February.
    13. Garcia, Federico & Arkes, Jeremy & Trost, Robert, 2002. "Does employer-financed general training pay? Evidence from the US Navy," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(1), pages 19-27, February.
    14. Harley Frazis & Maury Gittleman & Mary Joyce, 2000. "Correlates of training: An analysis using both employer and employee characteristics," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 53(3), pages 443-462, April.
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