nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2007‒01‒02
fifteen papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
Universita degli Studi di Roma, La Sapienza

  1. How General Is Specific Human Capital? By Christina Gathmann; Uta Schönberg
  2. Entrepreneurship and the Process of Firms’ Entry, Survival and Growth By Enrico Santarelli; Marco Vivarelli
  3. Public Education in an Integrated Europe: Studying to Migrate and Teaching to Stay? By Panu Poutvaara
  4. Higher Education as a Form of European Integration: How Novel is the Bologna Process? By Anne Corbett
  5. From Farmers to Merchants, Voluntary Conversions and Diaspora: A Human Capital Interpretation of Jewish History By Botticini, Maristella; Eckstein, Zvi
  6. The International Migration of Knowledge Workers: When Is Brain Drain Beneficial? By Peter Kuhn; Carol McAusland
  7. How should we organize schooling to further children with migration background? By Nicole Schneeweis
  8. Higher Education in India: Seizing the Opportunity By Sanat Kaul
  9. Educational Inputs and Outcomes Before the Transition from Communism By John Beirne; Nauro F. Campos
  10. Student Achievement and University Classes: Effects of Attendance, Size, Peers, and Teachers By Pedro Martins; Ian Walker
  11. Which Factors Determine the Grades of Undergraduate Students in Economics? Some Evidence from Spain By Juan J. Dolado; Eduardo Morales
  12. Longevity and Lifetime Labour Input: Data and Implications By Hazan, Moshe
  13. Does Manager Turnover Improve Firm Performance? New Evidence Using Information from Dutch Soccer, 1986-2004 By Bas ter Weel
  14. The Open Method of Coordination as practice - A watershed in European education policy? By Åse Gornitzka
  15. Lead Them to Water and Pay Them to Drink: An Experiment with Services and Incentives for College Achievement By Joshua Angrist; Daniel Lang; Philip Oreopoulos

  1. By: Christina Gathmann (Stanford University and IZA Bonn); Uta Schönberg (University of Rochester and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Previous studies assume that labor market skills are either fully general or specific to the firm. This paper uses patterns in mobility and wages to analyze how portable specific skills are in the labor market. The empirical analysis combines data on tasks performed in different jobs with a large panel on complete working histories and wages. Our results demonstrate that labor market skills are partially transferable across occupations. We find that individuals move to occupations with similar task requirements and that the distance of moves declines with time in the labor market. Further, tenure in the last occupation affects current wages, and the effect is stronger if the two occupations are similar. Our estimates suggest that taskspecific human capital is the most important source of wage growth for university graduates. For the low- and medium-skilled, returns to task human capital are also sizeable, though smaller than for labor market experience.
    Keywords: specific skills, occupations, wage growth, mobility
    JEL: J24 J41 J62
    Date: 2006–12
  2. By: Enrico Santarelli (University of Bologna, Max Planck Institute of Economics Jena, ENCORE Amsterdam, and IZA Bonn); Marco Vivarelli (Università Cattolica Piacenza, CSGR Warwick, Max Planck Institute of Economics Jena, and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This survey paper aims at critically discussing the recent literature on firm formation and survival and the growth of new-born firms. The basic purpose is to single out the microeconomic entrepreneurial foundations of industrial dynamics (entry and exit) and to characterise the founder’s ex-ante features in terms of likely ex-post business performance. The main conclusion is that entry of new firms is heterogeneous with innovative entrepreneurs being found together with passive followers, over-optimist gamblers and even escapees from unemployment. Since founders are heterogeneous and may make "entry mistakes", policy incentives should be highly selective, favouring nascent entrepreneurs endowed with progressive motivation and promising predictors of better business performance. This would lead to the least distortion in the post-entry market selection of efficient entrepreneurs.
    Keywords: entrepreneurship, new firm, survival, post-entry performance
    JEL: L10 M13
    Date: 2006–12
  3. By: Panu Poutvaara (University of Helsinki and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This paper analyzes public provision of internationally applicable and country-specific education, when job opportunities available to those with internationally applicable education are uncertain. Migration provides a market insurance in case labor market opportunities in the home country are poor. An increasing international applicability of a given type of education encourages students to invest more effort when studying. Governments, on the other hand, face an incentive to divert the provision of public education away from internationally applicable education toward country-specific skills. This would mean educating too few engineers, economists and doctors, and too many lawyers.
    Keywords: public education, migration, brain drain and brain gain, European Union, common labor market
    JEL: H52 I28 F22 J24 J61
    Date: 2006–12
  4. By: Anne Corbett
    Keywords: multilevel governance; institutionalism; Europeanization; educational policy
    Date: 2006–12–18
  5. By: Botticini, Maristella; Eckstein, Zvi
    Abstract: From the end of the second century C.E., Judaism enforced a religious norm requiring Jewish fathers to educate their sons. We present evidence supporting our thesis that this change in the religious and social norm had a major influence on Jewish economic and demographic history. First, the high individual and community cost of educating children in subsistence farming economies (2nd to 7th centuries) prompted voluntary conversions, which account for a large share of the reduction in the size of the Jewish population from 4.5 million to 1.2 million. Second, the Jewish farmers who invested in education, gained the comparative advantage and incentive to enter skilled occupations during the vast urbanization in the newly developed Muslim Empire (8th and 9th centuries) and they actually did select themselves into these occupations. Third, as merchants the Jews invested even more in education---a pre-condition for the extensive mailing network and common court system that endowed them with trading skills demanded all over the world. Fourth, the Jews generated a voluntary diaspora by migrating within the Muslim Empire, and later to western Europe where they were invited to settle as high skill intermediaries by local rulers. By 1200, the Jews were living in hundreds of towns from England and Spain in the West to China and India in the East. Fifth, the majority of world Jewry (about one million) lived in the Near East when the Mongol invasions in the 1250s brought this region back to a subsistence farming and pastoral economy in which many Jews found it difficult to enforce the religious norm regarding education, and hence, voluntarily converted, exactly as it had happened centuries earlier.
    Keywords: human capital; Jewish economic and demographic history; migration; occupational choice; religion; social norms
    JEL: J1 J2 N3 O1 Z12 Z13
    Date: 2006–12
  6. By: Peter Kuhn (University of California, Santa Barbara and IZA Bonn); Carol McAusland (University of Maryland)
    Abstract: We consider the welfare effects of the emigration of workers who produce a public good (knowledge). We distinguish between the knowledge diversion and knowledge creation effects of such emigration, and show that the remaining residents of a country can gain from emigration, even when tastes for knowledge goods exhibit a kind of ‘home bias’. In contrast to existing models of beneficial brain drain (BBD), our results do not require agglomeration economies, education-related externalities, remittances, return migration, or an emigration "lottery". Instead, they are driven purely by the public nature of knowledge goods, combined with differences in market size that induce greater knowledge creation by emigrants abroad than at home. BBD is even more likely in the presence of weak sending-country intellectual property rights (IPRs), or when source country IPR policy is endogenized.
    Keywords: brain drain, international migration, international factor mobility, knowledge workers, intellectual property rights
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Nicole Schneeweis (Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria)
    Abstract: Educational integration of children with migration background is an important issue in the social sciences. Few studies exist that quantify the disadvantage of immigrant children in education and there has not been any attempt to identify institutional conditions of the education system that contribute to educational integration. Using data from five international student assessments, this study tries to fill that gap. First, Blinder-Oaxaca decompositions are used to allow for a comparison of (dis)integration of students with migration background across countries and time. In a second step, (dis)integration is related to institutional characteristics of the schooling system. The study shows that early education, time in school and central exams furthers integration, while social segregation of students among schools is detrimental to educational integration.
    Keywords: Institution; Integration; Immigrant; Pisa; Timss; Education
    JEL: I21 I28 J15
    Date: 2006–12
  8. By: Sanat Kaul (Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations)
    Date: 2006–05
  9. By: John Beirne (Brunel University); Nauro F. Campos (Brunel University, CEPR and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: Conventional wisdom suggests that the stocks of human capital were one of the few positive legacies from communism. However, if factories under communism were so inefficient, why would the education system not have been? Using the education production function approach and new data on educational inputs and outcomes from 1960 to 1989, we find evidence suggesting that the official human capital stocks figures were "over-estimated" during the communist period. In other words, we find that the official human capital stock numbers are significantly higher than those predicted not only in relation to countries at similar levels of development, but also on the basis of educational systems with comparable features and efficiency levels.
    Keywords: human capital, education, transition economies
    JEL: O11 J24 P27 P39
    Date: 2006–12
  10. By: Pedro Martins (Queen Mary, University of London, CEG-IST Lisbon and IZA Bonn); Ian Walker (University of Warwick, Princeton University and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: We examine the empirical determinants of student achievement in higher education, focusing our attention on its small-group teaching component (classes or seminars) and on the role of attendance, number of students per class, peers, and tutors. The empirical analysis is based on longitudinal administrative data from a major undergraduate program where students are allocated to class groups in a systematic way, but one which is plausibly uncorrelated with ability. Although, in simple specifications, we find positive returns to attendance and sizeable differences in the effectiveness of teaching assistants, most effects are not significant in specifications that include student fixed effects. We conclude that unobserved heterogeneity amongst students, even in an institution that imposes rigorous admission criteria and so has little observable heterogeneity, is apparently much more important than observable variation in inputs in explaining student outcomes.
    Keywords: education production functions, attendance, class size, peer effects
    JEL: I2 J2
    Date: 2006–12
  11. By: Juan J. Dolado (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, CEPR and IZA Bonn); Eduardo Morales (Harvard University)
    Abstract: This paper analyses the determinants of grades achieved in three core subjects by first-year Economics undergraduate students at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, over the period 2001-2005. Gender, nationality, type of school, specialization track at high school and the grades at the university entry exam are the key factors we examine. Our main findings are that those students who did a technical track at high school tend to do better in mathematics than those who followed a social sciences degree and, that the latter do not perform significantly better than the former in subjects with less degree of formalism and more economic content. Moreover, students from public schools are predominant in the lower (with social sciences or humanities tracks) and upper (with a technical track) parts of the grade distribution, and females tend to perform better than males.
    Keywords: grade achievement, school type, gender, multinomial logit, quantile regressions
    JEL: I21 I29
    Date: 2006–12
  12. By: Hazan, Moshe
    Abstract: The Ben-Porath (1967) mechanism suggests that prolonging the period during which individuals may receive returns on their investment spurs investment in human capital and causes growth. An important, albeit implicit implication of this mechanism is that the total labour input over a lifetime must increase as longevity does. Otherwise, the incentive to invest in education would not increase. We propose an empirical evaluation of the relevance of this mechanism to the transition from 'stagnation' to 'growth' in today’s developed economies. Specifically, we estimate the expected total lifetime working hours of consecutive cohorts of American men born between 1840 and 1970. Our results show that despite a gain of more than 15 years in life expectancy at the age 5, the expected total lifetime working hours have declined by more than 20 percent between the oldest and youngest cohorts. Furthermore, the similarity in the trends and the magnitudes of the determinants of total lifetime labour input between the US and many European countries suggest that our result is not confined to the US experience; rather, it is a robust feature of the process of development. We conclude that the Ben-Porath mechanism has had no effect on the accumulation of human capital during the growth process of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.
    Keywords: hours worked; human capital; longevity
    JEL: E20 J22 J24 J26 O11
    Date: 2006–12
  13. By: Bas ter Weel (MERIT, Maastricht University and IZA Bonn)
    Abstract: This research examines the impact of manager turnover on firm performance using information from the Dutch soccer league in the period 1986-2004. The advantage of using sports data is that both manager characteristics and decisions and firm outcomes are directly observable. Both difference-in-difference and 2SLS estimates suggest no improvements in firm performance after manager turnover, whereas previous research based on publicly traded firm data has found positive but very small effects of manager turnover on firm performance. In addition, manager quality does not seem to matter in predicting turnover. These estimates are compared and contrasted with studies using publicly traded firm data.
    Keywords: management turnover, firm performance
    JEL: J24
    Date: 2006–12
  14. By: Åse Gornitzka
    Keywords: institutionalism; educational policy; Europeanization
    Date: 2006–12–21
  15. By: Joshua Angrist; Daniel Lang; Philip Oreopoulos
    Abstract: High attrition rates, delayed completion, and poor achievement are growing concerns at colleges and universities in North America. This paper reports on a randomized field experiment involving two strategies designed to improve these outcomes among first-year undergraduates at a large Canadian university. One treatment group was offered peer advising and tutorial services. Another was offered substantial merit-scholarships for solid, but not necessarily top, first year grades. A third treatment group combined both interventions. Service take-up rates were much higher for students offered both services and scholarships than for those offered services alone. Females also used services more than males. No program had an effect on grades for males. However, first-term grades were significantly higher for females in the two scholarship treatment groups. These effects faded somewhat by year's end, but remain significant for females who planned to take enough courses to qualify for a scholarship. There also appears to have been an effect on retention for females offered both scholarships and services. This effect is large enough to generate an overall increase in retention. On balance, the results suggest that a combination of services and incentives is more promising than either alone.
    JEL: I22 I28 J24
    Date: 2006–12

This nep-hrm issue is ©2007 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.
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