nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2008‒01‒12
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. A Gendered Assessment of the Brain Drain By Frédéric Docquier; B. Lindsay Lowell; Abdeslam Marfouk
  2. Private School Quality in Italy By Giuseppe Bertola; Daniele Checchi; Veruska Oppedisano
  3. What determines productivity dynamics at the firm level? Evidence from Spain By Stucchi, Rodolfo
  4. Is Education the Panacea for Economic Deprivation of Muslims? Evidence from Wage Earners in India, 1987–2005 By Sumon Kumar Bhaumik; Manisha Chakrabarty
  5. Education and labour productivity in New Zealand By Razzak, Weshah; Timmins, Jason
  6. The Impact of Direct Democracy on Public Education: Evidence for Swiss Students in Reading, Mathematics and Natural Science By Fischer, Justina A.V.
  7. Revolution and Family in Rural China: Influence of Family Background on Current Family Wealth By Hiroshi Sato; Li Shi
  8. Steering towards the High Road: A Study of Human Resource Management in Two Indian Garment Factories By Henrietta Lake
  9. The American High School Graduation Rate: Trends and Levels By James J. Heckman; Paul A. LaFontaine
  10. A Macroeconomic perspective on skill shortages and the skill premium in New Zealand By Razzak, Weshah; Timmins, Jason
  11. Social Capital and the Labour Market By Sabatini, Fabio
  12. Does Social Capital Mitigate Precariousness? By Sabatini, Fabio

  1. By: Frédéric Docquier (FNRS, IRES, Catholic University of Louvain, World Bank and IZA); B. Lindsay Lowell (ISIM, Georgetown University); Abdeslam Marfouk (Free University of Brussels)
    Abstract: This paper updates and extends the Docquier-Marfouk data set on international migration by educational attainment. We use new sources, homogenize definitions of what a migrant is, and compute gender-disaggregated indicators of the brain drain. Emigration stocks and rates are provided by level of schooling and gender for 195 source countries in 1990 and 2000. Our data set can be used to capture the recent trend in women’s brain drain and to analyze its causes and consequences for developing countries. We show that women represent an increasing share of the OECD immigration stock and exhibit relatively higher rates of brain drain than men. The gender gap in skilled migration is strongly correlated with the gender gap in educational attainment at origin. Equating women’s and men’s access to education would probably reduce gender differences in the brain drain.
    Keywords: brain drain, gender, human capital, migration
    JEL: F22 J61
    Date: 2007–12
  2. By: Giuseppe Bertola (University of Turin); Daniele Checchi (University of Milan and IZA); Veruska Oppedisano (University of Turin)
    Abstract: We discuss how a schooling system’s structure may imply that private school enrolment leads to worse subsequent performance in further education or in the labour market, and we seek evidence of such phenomena in Italian data. If students differ not only in terms of their families’ ability to pay but also in terms of their own ability to take advantage of educational opportunities ("talent" for short), theory predicts that private schools attract a worse pool of students when publicly funded schools are better suited to foster progress by more talented students. We analyze empirically three surveys of Italian secondary school graduates, interviewed 3 year after graduation. In these data, the impact of observable talent proxies on educational and labour market outcomes is indeed more positive for students who (endogenously) choose to attend public schools than for those who choose to pay for private education.
    Keywords: private schooling, talent
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2007–12
  3. By: Stucchi, Rodolfo
    Abstract: The current literature on firm dynamics considers the mobility of firms within the productivity distribution to be determined by exogenous random shocks. This paper evaluates human capital and learning by doing as possible factors determining the mobility once the exogenous shocks have taken place. The main contribution of the paper is to provide evidence on the endogenous mobility of firms within the productivity distribution.
    Keywords: Productivity dynamics; Human Capital; Learning by Doing.
    JEL: C51 D24 L60
    Date: 2007–10–10
  4. By: Sumon Kumar Bhaumik (Brunel University, WDI and IZA); Manisha Chakrabarty (Indian Institute of Management and Keele University)
    Abstract: Few researchers have examined the nature and determinants of earnings differentials among religious groups, and none has been undertaken in the context of conflict-prone multireligious societies like the one in India. We address this lacuna in the literature by examining the differences in the average (log) earnings of Hindu and Muslim wage earners in India, during the 1987-2005 period. Our results indicate that education differences between Hindu and Muslim wage earners, especially differences in the proportion of wage earners with tertiary education, are largely responsible for the differences in the average (log) earnings of the two religious groups across the years. By contrast, differences in the returns to education do not explain the aforementioned difference in average (log) earnings. In conclusion, we discuss some policy implications.
    Keywords: earnings gap, education, decomposition, religion
    JEL: J31 J15 I28
    Date: 2007–12
  5. By: Razzak, Weshah; Timmins, Jason
    Abstract: We estimate the effect of four types of education qualifications, as a proxy for human capital and skill levels, on GDP per capita, and compute the average percentage returns. We also test the effect of the product of each proxy of human capital with R&D on GDP per capita. We find that only university qualification and its product with R&D to have a positive effect on the average economy-wide productivity.
    Keywords: Labour productivity; education qualification; R&D
    JEL: D20 J08 C23
    Date: 2007–02–21
  6. By: Fischer, Justina A.V. (Dept. of Economics, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: Empirical analyses for the US suggest that stronger people’s control over the school budget is deleterious to student performance. Using Swiss data on ninth graders in mathematics, reading and natural science collected jointly with the PISA study 2000, this paper tests this hypothesis for Switzerland, exploiting inter-cantonal variation in political institutions. For both student performance in reading and mathematics, stronger popular rights appear to lower educational achievement through the school budget channel. In particular, the qualification of teachers is identified as most influential determinant of student achievement, which is shown to be linked to educational spending.
    Keywords: Direct democracy; public finance; economics of education; PISA
    JEL: H10 H41 I28
    Date: 2007–12–31
  7. By: Hiroshi Sato (Hitotsubashi University); Li Shi (Beijing Normal University and IZA)
    Abstract: This paper examines the influence of family human capital on offspring’s economic status in post reform rural China by concentrating on the father-son relationship. We focus on two indicators of family background: family class origin (jiating chengfen) and occupational experience. The results of a family wealth function for 2002 suggest that, after controlling for other individual and family characteristics, both measures of family background have a significant influence on family wealth. First, parental experience of a nonagricultural family business before collectivization has a positive and statistically significant effect on current family wealth. Second, the offspring of landlord/rich peasant and middle peasant families are more likely to have higher family wealth than poor and lower-middle peasant families. We also find cohort and regional differences in the influence of family background. Our findings suggest that the strength and robustness of the Chinese rural family as a cultural institution preserves family human capital across radical institutional changes.
    Keywords: family human capital, family background, intergenerational correlation, distribution of wealth
    JEL: D31 J24 N35 O15
    Date: 2007–12
  8. By: Henrietta Lake (IZA (Research Affiliate))
    Abstract: What are the performance benefits of investing in human resources in a low-cost labor environment where returns to such investment are widely perceived as negligible? This paper presents a matched pair case study on the performance effect of human resource management systems at two garment factories manufacturing for export in India. They make the same product for the same buyer with the same local pool of labor. One factory views its workforce as a variable cost to be minimized, limits training, prefers strict hierarchy and job definitions. It relies on a range of factors including the offer of overtime and a lack of available alternatives to workers for retention. The other factory, which is located almost next door and pays the same basic wage, focuses on skills development, opportunities for promotion and encouraging employee participation. Employee turnover at the first factory is almost three times greater than that of the second, its absenteeism one third higher, while its product quality is 2.6 times lower and its production efficiency over 28 percent lower. This study demonstrates that even in a low-wage environment, HRM and work organization have a tangible and independent impact on performance.
    Keywords: human resource management, labor productivity, labor standards, India, garments
    JEL: J24 J8 O15
    Date: 2007–12
  9. By: James J. Heckman (University of Chicago and IZA); Paul A. LaFontaine (American Bar Association)
    Abstract: This paper uses multiple data sources and a unified methodology to estimate the trends and levels of the U.S. high school graduation rate. Correcting for important biases that plague previous calculations, we establish that (a) the true high school graduation rate is substantially lower than the official rate issued by the National Center for Educational Statistics; (b) it has been declining over the past 40 years; (c) majority/minority graduation rate differentials are substantial and have not converged over the past 35 years; (d) the decline in high school graduation rates occurs among native populations and is not solely a consequence of increasing proportions of immigrants and minorities in American society; (e) the decline in high school graduation explains part of the recent slowdown in college attendance; and (f) the pattern of the decline of high school graduation rates by gender helps to explain the recent increase in male-female college attendance gaps.
    Keywords: high school dropout rate, high school graduation rates, educational attainment
    JEL: I21
    Date: 2007–12
  10. By: Razzak, Weshah; Timmins, Jason
    Abstract: Qualification and occupation-based measures of skilled labour are constructed to explain the skill premium – the wage of skilled labour relative to unskilled labour in New Zealand. The data exhibit a more rapid growth in the supply of skilled labour than the skill premium, and a very large increase in the real minimum wage over the period from 1986 to 2005. We estimate the rate of increase in the relative demand for skills and the elasticity of substitution. The data are consistent with skill shortages and a skill-bias technical change. We examine the effects of the minimum wage, capital complementarity, and the exchange rate on the skill premium. We also test whether the demand for skills and the elasticity of substitution varied across industries and over time.
    Keywords: Skill-bias technical change; skill premium; the exchange rate
    JEL: J31 C23 O3
    Date: 2007–02–08
  11. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: The main question of this paper is: what type of social capital is able to mitigate labour precariousness and to foster human development? This issue has been addressed through a review of the literature and an empirical investigation on the Italian regions. The analysis shows that only bonding social capital mitigates precariousness on the labour market, while the weak ties shaping voluntary organizations are the only type of social capital that nourish human development, thereby fostering sustainable growth.
    Keywords: Social capital; Labour market; Precariousness; Precariato
    JEL: Z13 J0
    Date: 2008–01–04
  12. By: Sabatini, Fabio
    Abstract: There is a surprising gap in the economic literature on social capital. First, we lack studies addressing the effects of social capital on those facets of development that can contribute in making growth more sustainable in the long run, like, for example, human development and social cohesion. Second, it is still unclear what type of networks may exert a positive effect on the different dimensions of development. In particular, the literature has not yet provided a rigorous assessment of the role of strong family ties, that are generally referred to as a form of bonding social capital causing backwardness. This paper carries out an empirical investigation into the relationship between the three types of social capital so far identified by the literature (i.e. bonding, bridging and linking), human development, and labour precariousness, in the belief that precariousness and uncertainty play a crucial role in determining the social cohesion and well-being that are necessary to make growth sustainable in the long run.
    Keywords: Social capital; Human development; Labour market; Precariousness; Italy
    JEL: O15 J24 Z13
    Date: 2008–01–08

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