nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2006‒05‒06
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Opening the borders: immigration policy, migrants' selection and human capital accumulation. By G. Bellettini; C. Berti Ceroni
  2. The Importance of Functional Literacy: Reading and Math Skills and Labour Market Outcomes of High School Drop-outs By Finnie, Ross; Meng, Ronald
  3. Diaspora and Development: Highly Skilled Migrants from East Asia By Robert E. B. Lucas;
  4. Turnover and Job Training in Developing and Developed Countries: Evidence from Colombia and the United States By Julie Anderson Schaffner;
  5. Comprehensive versus Selective Schooling in England and Wales: What Do We Know? By Manning, Alan; Pischke, Jörn-Steffen
  6. Participation in Adult Schooling and its Earnings Impact in Canada By Zhang, Xuelin; Palameta, Boris
  7. Skill-biased Technology Adoption: Evidence for the Chilean manufacturing sector By Olga M. Fuentes; Simon Gilchrist
  8. School and Residential Ethnic Segregation:An Analysis of Variations across England’s Local Education Authorities By Ron Johnston; Deborah Wilson; Simon Burgess; Richard Harris
  9. On the Importance of Finnishing School: Half a Century of Inter-Generational Economic Mobility in Finland By Sari Pekkala; Robert E. B. Lucas

  1. By: G. Bellettini; C. Berti Ceroni
  2. By: Finnie, Ross; Meng, Ronald
    Abstract: This study assesses the effects of literacy and numeracy skills on the labour market outcomes of Canadian high school drop-outs. We find that these skills have significant effects on the probability of being employed and on hours and weeks of work for both men and women, and also have strong (direct) influences on men's, but not women's, incomes. These findings imply that high school curricula that develop literacy and numeracy skills could provide significant returns even for those who do not complete their programs and wind up at the lower end of the labour market. Our findings similarly suggest that training programs catering to drop-outs could substantially improve these individuals' labour market outcomes by developing these basic skills. The results also have implications for dual labour market theory, since it is often assumed that the secondary market is characterized by minimal returns to human capital'contrary to what is found here.
    Keywords: Labour, Education, Employment, Literacy
    Date: 2006–03–27
  3. By: Robert E. B. Lucas (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University);
  4. By: Julie Anderson Schaffner (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University);
  5. By: Manning, Alan; Pischke, Jörn-Steffen
    Abstract: British secondary schools moved from a system of extensive and early selection and tracking in secondary schools to one with comprehensive schools during the 1960s and 70s. Before the reform, students would take an exam at age eleven, which determined whether they would attend an academically oriented grammar school or a lower level secondary school. The reform proceeded at an uneven pace in different areas, so that both secondary school systems coexist during the 1960s and 70s. The British transition therefore provides an excellent laboratory for the study of the impact of a comprehensive versus a selective school system on student achievement. Previous studies analyzing this transition have typically used a valueadded methodology: they compare outcomes for students passing through either type of school controlling for achievement levels at the time of entering secondary education. While this seems like a reasonable research design, we demonstrate that it is unlikely to successfully eliminate selection effects in who attends what type of school. Very similar results are obtained by looking at the effect of secondary school environment on achievement at age 11 and controlling for age 7 achievement. Since children only enter secondary school at age 11, these effects are likely due to selection bias. Careful choice of treatment and control areas, and using political control of the county as an instrument for early implementation of the comprehensive regime do not solve this problem.
    Keywords: comprehensive schools; selective secondary schooling; tracking
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2006–04
  6. By: Zhang, Xuelin; Palameta, Boris
    Abstract: Based on a sample drawn from Statistics Canada's Survey of Labour and Income Dynamics (SLID: 1993 to 1998 and 1996 to 2001), the study finds that young (17 to 34 years old) and single workers were more likely than older (35 to 59 years old) and married and divorced workers to participate in adult schooling and to obtain a post-secondary certificate. Workers with less than a high school education who might have the greatest need to increase their human capital investment were less likely to participate in adult education than workers with high school or more education. The study shows that male workers who obtained a post-secondary certificate while staying with the same employer generally registered higher wage and earnings gains than their counterparts who did not go back to school, regardless of age and initial level of education. On the other hand, men who obtained a certificate and switched jobs generally realized no significant return to their additional education, with the exception of young men (17 to 34 years old) who would receive significant returns to a certificate, whether they switched employer or stayed with the same employer. Obtaining a certificate generated significant wage and earnings returns for older women (aged 35 to 59) who stayed with the same employer, and significant wage returns for young women who switched employers.
    Keywords: Labour, Education, Salaries and wages, Adult education
    Date: 2006–03–24
  7. By: Olga M. Fuentes (Institute for Economic Development,Boston University); Simon Gilchrist (Institute for Economic Development,Boston University)
    Abstract: We examine the evolution of the demand for skilled workers relative to unskilled workers in the Chilean manufacturing sector following Chile’s liberalization of trade in the late 1970’s. Following such trade reforms, the standard Heckscher-Olin model predicts that a low labor-cost country like Chile should experience an increased demand for low skilled workers relative to high skilled workers. Alternatively, if trade liberalization is associated with the adoption of new technologies, and technology is skill-biased, the relative demand for skilled workers may rise. Using a newly available plant-level data set that spans the sixteen year period 1979-1995, we find that the relative demand for skilled workers rose sharply during the 1979-1986 period and then stabilized. The sharp increase in demand for skilled workers coincided with an increased propensity to adopt new technologies as measured by patent usage. Plant-level analysis of labor demand confirms a significant relationship between the relative demand for skilled workers and technology adoption as measured by patent usage and other technology indicators. Our results suggest that skill-biased technological change is a significant determinant of labor demand and wage structures in developing economies.
  8. By: Ron Johnston; Deborah Wilson; Simon Burgess; Richard Harris
    Abstract: Schools are central to the goals of a multi-cultural society, but their ability to act as arenas within which meaningful inter-cultural interactions take place depends on the degree to which students from various cultural backgrounds meet there. Using recently-released data on the ethnic composition of both schools and small residential areas, this paper explores not only the extent of ethnic segregation in England’s schools but also whether that segregation is greater than the underpinning segregation in the country’s residential areas. The results show greater segregation in schools – considerably so for primary schools and more so for some ethnic groups relative to others – than in neighbourhoods, patterns which have considerable implications for educational policy.
    Keywords: ethnic segregation, neighbourhoods, schools
    JEL: I20
    Date: 2006–04
  9. By: Sari Pekkala (Government Institute for Economic Research); Robert E. B. Lucas (Institute for Economic Development, Boston University)
    Abstract: Trends in inter-generational economic mobility in Finland are analyzed using panel data from 1950 through 1999 on more than 200 thousand sons and daughters born between 1930 and 1970. A significant decline is estimated in the inter-generational transmission elasticity from the 1930 birth cohort until the baby boom cohorts of the early1950s. After that we observe no increase in the extent of mobility for 1950s and 1960s birth cohorts. The result holds both for sons and daughters. The quite dramatic transformation of the Finnish economy in the second half of the twentieth century is outlined in the paper. However, a decomposition of the inter-generational transmission elasticities across cohorts shows that most of the decline in transmission reflected a reduction in the impact of family income on duration of children’s education accompanied by a decline in the returns to schooling. Despite the large volume of rural–urban migration during this period of transformation, regional mobility played only a minor role in increasing economic mobility.
    Keywords: Inter-generational mobility, cohorts, education, migration
    JEL: J62

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