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Technical Human Capital and Job Mobility in an Era of Rapid Technological Innovation


  • Darrell J. Glaser

    () (United States Naval Academy)

  • Ahmed S. Rahman

    () (United States Naval Academy)


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%.

Suggested Citation

  • Darrell J. Glaser & Ahmed S. Rahman, 2012. "Technical Human Capital and Job Mobility in an Era of Rapid Technological Innovation," Departmental Working Papers 37, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:usn:usnawp:37

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. J. Glaser, Darrell & S. Rahman, Ahmed, 2011. "Human Capital and Technological Transition: Insights from the U.S. Navy," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 704-729, September.
    2. Darrell J. Glaser, 2011. "Time‐Varying Effects Of Human Capital On Military Retention," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 29(2), pages 231-249, April.
    3. Robert H. Topel & Michael P. Ward, 1992. "Job Mobility and the Careers of Young Men," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(2), pages 439-479.
    4. Leo Wolman, 1932. "American Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(2), pages 398-406.
    5. McCue, Kristin, 1996. "Promotions and Wage Growth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 14(2), pages 175-209, April.
    6. Gibbons, Robert & Waldman, Michael, 1999. "Careers in organizations: Theory and evidence," Handbook of Labor Economics,in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 36, pages 2373-2437 Elsevier.
    7. McCall, Brian P, 1994. "Testing the Proportional Hazards Assumption in the Presence of Unmeasured Heterogeneity," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(3), pages 321-334, July-Sept.
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    1. Darrell J. Glaser & Ahmed S. Rahman, 2012. "Naval Engineering and Labor Specialization during the Industrial Revolution," Departmental Working Papers 38, United States Naval Academy Department of Economics.

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