nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2006‒09‒03
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. Human Capital, Sport Performance, and Salary Determination of Professional Athletes By R. Antonietti
  2. The Benefits and Costs of Alternative Strategies to Combat Illiteracy By Orazem, Peter
  3. Two Sides of the Same Coin: U.S. “Residual” Inequality and the Gender Gap By Marigee Bacolod; Bernardo S. Blum
  4. The skill content of technological change. Some conjectures on the role of education and job-training in reducing the timing of new technology adoption. By R. Antonietti
  5. Does Aid for Education Educate Children? Evidence from Panel Data By Axel Dreher; Peter Nunnenkamp; Rainer Thiele
  6. Cohort Changes in the Transition from School to Work: What Changed and What Consequences Did it have for Wages? By Marigee Bacolod; V. Joseph Hotz
  7. Do School-to-Work Programs Help the “Forgotten Half”? By David Neumark; Donna Rothstein
  8. Emerging Institutions: Pyramids or Anthills? By Czarniawska, Barbara
  9. Fields of study and graduates’ occupational outcomes in Italy during the 90s. Who won and who lost? By Gabriele BALLARINO; Massimiliano BRATTI

  1. By: R. Antonietti
    Date: 2006
  2. By: Orazem, Peter
    Abstract: This paper reviews the stylized facts regarding the distribution of human capital investments and the returns to those investments in developing countries. It then examines recent evidence regarding which policies can induce increased human capital investments in the most efficient manner, using estimated benefits and costs as a guide.
    Keywords: illiteracy, education, returns, costs, benefits, policy, enrollment, developing countries
    JEL: O2
    Date: 2006–08–29
  3. By: Marigee Bacolod (University of California-Irvine); Bernardo S. Blum (University of Toronto)
    Abstract: In this paper we show that the two major developments experienced by the US labor market - rising inequality and narrowing of the male-female wage gap - can be explained by a common source: the increase in price of cognitive skills and the decrease in price of motor skills. We obtain the price of a multidimensional vector of skills by combining a hedonic price framework with data on the skill requirements of jobs from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and workers’ wages from the CPS. We find that in the 1968-1990 period the returns to cognitive skills increased 4-fold and the returns to motor skills declined by 30%. Given that the top of the wage distribution of college and high school graduates is relatively well endowed with cognitive skills, these changes in skill prices explain up to 40% of the rise in inequality among college graduates and about 20% among high school graduates. In a similar way, because women were in occupations intensive in cognitive skills while men were in motor-intensive occupations, these skill price changes explain over 80% of the observed narrowing of the male-female wage gap.
    Date: 2005–01
  4. By: R. Antonietti
    Date: 2006
  5. By: Axel Dreher; Peter Nunnenkamp; Rainer Thiele
    Abstract: This paper empirically analyzes the impact of aid on education for about 100 countries over the period 1970-2005. We estimate a system of equations to test whether and to what extent the impact of sector-specific aid on educational attainment depends on (i) the extent to which aid adds to overall educational expenditure of the recipient government, (ii) the strength of the link between government expenditure and education, (iii) the quality of institutions in the recipient country, and (iv) whether aid encourages institutional reforms. According to our results, aid significantly increases primary school enrolment. This result is robust to the method of estimation, employing instruments to control for the endogeneity of aid, and the measure of institutional quality employed. The degree of institutional quality, however, has no robust impact on this relationship
    Keywords: Aid effectiveness, Education, Sector-specific aid
    JEL: F35 O11 H52 I22
    Date: 2006–08
  6. By: Marigee Bacolod (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine); V. Joseph Hotz (Department of Economics, University of California, Los Angeles)
    Abstract: This study examines the changes in the school-to-work transition in the United States over the latter part of the twentieth century and their consequences for the wages of young adults. In particular, we document the various types of work and schooling experiences acquired by youth who came to adulthood in the U.S. during the late 1960s, 1970s, and through the 1980s. We pay particular attention to how the differences across cohorts in these transitions vary by gender and race/ethnicity and how these differences affected their subsequent wage attainment. Evidence is evaluated using data from National Longitudinal Surveys of Young Women, Young Men, and Youth 1979. In general, we find that indicators of educational attainment, working while in school and non-school related work increased across cohorts for almost all racial/ethnic and gender groups. This was especially true for young women. Furthermore, various indicators of personal and family backgrounds changed in ways consistent with an improvement across cohorts in the preparation of young men and women for their attainment of schooling and work experience and their success in the labor market. The one exception to this general picture of improvement across cohorts was Hispanic men, who experienced a notable decline in educational attainment, the acquisition of full time work early in their adult lives and in a variety of personal and family background characteristics. With respect to hourly wage rates, we find that wages over the ages 16 through 27 declined across cohorts. However, the rate of growth of wages with age, particularly over adult ages, increased across cohorts for all racial/ethnic and gender groups, except black and Hispanic men. To assess the relative importance that changes in the school, work, military and other experiences had on wages across generations, we employ the decomposition proposed by Juhn, Murphy and Pierce (1993) to decompose the across-cohort wage changes in observable determinants, in their associated prices and in unobservable determinants, using a standard regression specification for the determinants of life cycle wages. We find that the dominant factor explaining the declines in wages across cohorts is attributable to changes in the prices of observable characteristics and to changes in unobservable determinants. At constant skill prices, changes in the skill composition across youth cohorts would have increased their wages, most especially for Hispanic women, followed by black women, white women, black men, and then white men. In striking contrast, Hispanic males’ wages would still have declined across cohorts purely accounting for compositional changes. We interpret this result as coming from the changing skill composition of immigrants. Our results also highlight the need for accounting for the endogeneity and selectivity of early skill acquisition.
    Date: 2005–03
  7. By: David Neumark (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine); Donna Rothstein (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor)
    Abstract: This paper tests whether school-to-work (STW) programs are particularly beneficial for those less likely to go to college in their absence—often termed the “forgotten half” in the STW literature. The empirical analysis is based on the NLSY97, which allows us to study six types of STW programs, including job shadowing, mentoring, coop, school enterprises, tech prep, and internships / apprenticeships. For men there is quite a bit of evidence that STW program participation is particularly advantageous for those in the forgotten half. For these men, among the strongest evidence is that mentoring and coop programs increase post-secondary education, and coop, school enterprise, and internship / apprenticeship programs boost employment and decrease idleness after leaving high school. There is less evidence that STW programs are particularly beneficial in increasing schooling among women in the forgotten half, although internship / apprenticeship programs do lead to positive earnings effects concentrated among these women.
    JEL: I28 J15 J24
    Date: 2005–10
  8. By: Czarniawska, Barbara (Gothenburg Research Institute)
    Abstract: In the present text, an institution is understood to be an (observable) pattern of collective action, justified by a corresponding social norm. By this definition, an institution emerges slowly, although it may be helped or hindered by various specific acts. From this perspective, an institutional entrepreneur is an oxymoron, at least in principle. In practice, however, there are and always have been people trying to create institutions. This paper describes the emergence of London School of Economics and Political Science as an institution and analyzes its founders and its supporters during crises as institutional entrepreneurs. A tentative theory of the phenomenon of institutional entrepreneurship inspired by an actor-network theory is then tested on two other cases described in brief.
    Keywords: higher education; institutions; entrepreneurs; actor-network theory
    Date: 2006–08–22
  9. By: Gabriele BALLARINO; Massimiliano BRATTI
    Abstract: Research on the transition from school to work is increasingly focusing on the horizontal stratification of educational systems, that is on how different educational tracks have an effect on students’ occupational chances. In the case of tertiary education, this means analyzing how different fields of study (faculties) make a difference in this transition, and how this difference varies in time. This paper studies how recent economic and social changes affected the role of undergraduate field of study in Italy. Two contrasting hypotheses are considered. The first one comes from the economic literature on “skill-biased technological change†and suggests that contemporary societies should give a premium to scientific and technical degrees, because of increasing competition in technological innovation. The second one, based on sociological theories of the “information economyâ€, suggests that contemporary societies should give a premium to academic degrees because of the increasing economic role of general, social and relational skills. Data come from four surveys of university graduates’ occupational careers that the Italian National Statistical Institute (Istat) has conducted from 1995 to 2004. By means of multivariate analyses of the quality of the occupational transitions, the paper will state how the effect of different fields of study on the transition has changed, and which one of the two contrasting hypotheses is better suited to account for this change
    Keywords: Employment, Field of study, Graduates, Italy

This nep-hrm issue is ©2006 by Fabio Sabatini. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.