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Human Capital and Skill Specificity

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Abstract

This paper examines whether local labor market conditions at the time of high school graduation have long-term effects on wages. We find that a higher unemployment rate raises the probability of staying in school after finishing high school of white males, but reduces that of black males. A higher unemployment rate is also found to have a negative and lasting impact on the wages of white males who directly enter the workforce after graduating from high school. The main impetus of these lower wages is a tendency to accumulate less experience over the same time horizon. Thus, for most individuals graduating during a recession represents bad luck. However, for some the forced opportunity of additional years of education results in higher earnings levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2003. "Human Capital and Skill Specificity," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20036, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
  • Handle: RePEc:uwo:hcuwoc:20036
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    File URL: http://economics.uwo.ca/chcp/workingpapers_docs/wp2003/Bowlus_Liu07.pdf
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    Cited by:

    1. Maxim Poletaev & Chris Robinson, 2004. "Human Capital Specificity: Direct and Indirect Evidence from Canadian and US Panels and Displaced Worker Surveys," University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP) Working Papers 20042, University of Western Ontario, Centre for Human Capital and Productivity (CHCP).
    2. Kristjan-Olari Leping, 2009. "Measuring the Specificity of Human Capital:a Skill-based Approach," Baltic Journal of Economics, Baltic International Centre for Economic Policy Studies, vol. 9(1), pages 39-54, July.
    3. Gathmann, Christina & Schönberg, Uta, 2006. "How General Is Specific Human Capital?," IZA Discussion Papers 2485, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Kristjan-Olari Leping, 2005. "Measuring the Specificity of Human Capital: a Skill-based Approach," Working Papers 134, Tallinn School of Economics and Business Administration, Tallinn University of Technology.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    earnings; education; business cycle;

    JEL classification:

    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • E3 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Prices, Business Fluctuations, and Cycles

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