Technical Human Capital and Job Mobility in an Era of Rapid Technological Innovation
We analyze the job matching process for skilled labor using an extensive panel dataset of naval officer careers during the Second Industrial Revolution. We find strong separation effects for officers with accumulated skills in technology-focused work and/or those with formal training as engineers. In particular, technology-based human capital increases the probability of a job switch quite substantially, even after controlling for wage differences and seniority. In addition to providing tests of matching-models, our results have important implications for policy makers evaluating incentives for retaining technologically trained human capital. This is applicable to help understand effects of wage differences in labor markets experiencing rapid technological change. Estimates also indicate that a ceteris paribus increase in the distribution of external wage offers increases the probability of job separation. Controlling for seniority and the effects from accumulated human capital, a 1% increase in the wage gap of internal wage offers relative to wages in external labor markets decreases the hazard for job separations by 0.8%.
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