The Value of Human Capital during the Second Industrial Revolution—Evidence from the U.S. Navy
This paper explores the role of human capital on earnings and other measures of job performance during the late 19th century. During this time, U.S. Naval ocers belonged either to a regular or an engineer corps and had tasks assigned to their specialized training and experience. To test for the e ects of specialized skills on performance, we compile educational data from original-source Naval Academy records for the graduating classes of 1858 to 1905. We merge these with career data extracted from official Navy registers for the years 1859 to 1907. This compilation comprises one of the longest and earliest longitudinal records of labor market earnings, education and experience of which we are aware. Our results suggest that greater technical skill translated into higher earnings early in careers, but wage premia diminished as careers progressed. From this evidence we argue that technical progress was more skill-depreciating than skill-biased during this period.
|Date of creation:||Jan 2010|
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