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Human Capital and Technological Transition – Insights from the U.S.Navy

  • Ahmed S. Rahman

    ()

    (United States Naval Academy)

This paper explores the e ects of human capital on workers during the latter 19th century by examining the speci c case of the U.S. Navy. During this time, naval ocers belonged either to a regular or an engineer corps and had tasks assigned for their specialized training and experience. To test the e ects of specialized skills on career 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 ocial 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 wage premia for \engineer-skilled" ocers rapidly deteriorated over their careers; more traditionally skilled ocers were better compensated and promoted more frequently as their careers progressed. This compelled those with engineering skills to leave the service early, contributing to the Navy's failure to keep up with the technological frontier of the time.

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File URL: http://www.usna.edu/EconDept/RePEc/usn/wp/usnawp34.pdf
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Paper provided by United States Naval Academy Department of Economics in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 34.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:34
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  2. Kevin H. O'Rourke & Ahmed S. Rahman & Alan M. Taylor, 2008. "Luddites and the Demographic Transition," NBER Working Papers 14484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Dirk Krueger & Krishna B. Kumar, 2003. "Skill-specific rather then General Education: A Reason for US-Europe Growth Differences?," NBER Working Papers 9408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  11. Susanto Basu & David N. Weil, 1998. "Appropriate Technology And Growth," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1025-1054, November.
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