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The relative effects of skill formation and job matching on wage growth in Ethiopia

  • Mengistae, Taye

The author analyzes production and labor market data for a random selection of small to medium-size firms in Ethiopia to answer two questions: 1) Does a worker's marginal productivity increase with time in the labor market or with job security, as must be the case if on-the-job skill formation or job matching has anything to do with the dynamics of wages observed in the data? 2) Assuming that marginal productivity grows with experience or seniority, is skill formation more or less important than job matching as a source of growth in productivity? The main feature of the author's analysis is the joint regression of the log of the average product of hours in a firm and the log of average hourly earnings of a firm's employees on the shares of experience-seniority cells of workers in total annual hours in the firm. Marginal productivity falls as experience in the labor market passes the 15-year mark, but the expected marginal product of a mobile worker with 16 or more years of experience is still nearly 80 percent higher than that of the base group.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2104.

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Date of creation: 30 Apr 1999
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2104
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  1. Milton Harris & Bengt Holmstrom, 1981. "A Theory of Wage Dynamics," Discussion Papers 488, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
  2. Altonji, Joseph G & Shakotko, Robert A, 1987. "Do Wages Rise with Job Seniority?," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(3), pages 437-59, July.
  3. Jovanovic, Boyan, 1979. "Job Matching and the Theory of Turnover," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(5), pages 972-90, October.
  4. Katharine G. Abraham & Henry S. Farber, 1986. "Job Duration, Seniority and Earnings," Working papers 407, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Baker, Michael, 1997. "Growth-Rate Heterogeneity and the Covariance Structure of Life-Cycle Earnings," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(2), pages 338-75, April.
  6. Jacob Mincer & Boyan Jovanovic, 1979. "Labor Mobility and Wages," NBER Working Papers 0357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Topel, Robert H, 1991. "Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(1), pages 145-76, February.
  8. Holzer, Harry J, 1988. "Search Method Use by Unemployed Youth," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-20, January.
  9. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  10. Marshall, Robert C & Zarkin, Gary A, 1987. "The Effect of Job Tenure on Wage Offers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 5(3), pages 301-24, July.
  11. Haley, William J, 1976. "Estimation of the Earnings Profile from Optimal Human Capital Accumulation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(6), pages 1223-38, November.
  12. Neumark, David & Taubman, Paul, 1995. "Why Do Wage Profiles Slope Upward? Tests of the General Human Capital Model," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 736-61, October.
  13. Johnson, William R, 1978. "A Theory of Job Shopping," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 92(2), pages 261-78, May.
  14. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1981. "Firm-Specific Human Capital as a Shared Investment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 475-82, June.
  15. James L. Medoff & Katharine G. Abraham, 1980. "Experience, Performance, and Earnings," NBER Working Papers 0278, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
  17. Lazear, Edward P, 1979. "Why Is There Mandatory Retirement?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1261-84, December.
  18. Ann P. Bartel & George J. Borjas, 1981. "Wage Growth and Job Turnover: An Empirical Analysis," NBER Chapters, in: Studies in Labor Markets, pages 65-90 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Blakemore, Arthur E & Hoffman, Dennis L, 1989. "Seniority Rules and Productivity: An Empirical Test," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 56(223), pages 359-71, August.
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