nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2008‒02‒02
twelve papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Human Capital Depreciation during Family-related Career Interruptions in Male and Female Occupations By Görlich Dennis; Grip Andries de
  2. Labor market pooling and human capital investment decisions By Amend, Elke; Herbst, Patrick
  3. Job Market Signaling and Employer Learning By Alós-Ferrer, Carlos; Prat, Julien
  4. Higher education and equality of opportunity in Italy By Vito Peragine; Laura Serlenga
  5. Educational Effects of Early or Later Secondary School Tracking in Germany By Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
  6. Does work impede child's learning? The case of Senegal By Christelle Dumas
  7. Refinancing Europe’s Higher Education through Deferred and Income-Contingent Fees: An empirical assessment using Belgian, German and UK data By O Debande; Vincent Vandenberghe
  8. Trading Population for Productivity: Theory and Evidence By Oded Galor; Andrew Mountford
  9. Gone for Good? Determinants of School Dropout in Southern Italy By O'Higgins, Niall; D'Amato, Marcello; Caroleo, Floro Ernesto; Barone, Adriana
  10. Residential Peer Effects in Higher Education: Does the Field of Study Matter? By Brunello, Giorgio; De Paola, Maria; Scoppa, Vincenzo
  11. Family Income and Tertiary Education Attendance across the EU: An empirical assessment using sibling data By Vincent Vandenberghe
  12. Child’s play? Skills, regulation and reward amongst ‘early years’ workers By Jeanette Findlay

  1. By: Görlich Dennis; Grip Andries de (ROA rm)
    Abstract: Human Capital Depreciation during Family-related Career Inter¬ruptions in Male and Female Occupations This study investigates the relation between human capital depreciation during family-related career interruptions and occupational choice of women in the (West) German labour market. In contrast to other studies that do not explicitly focus on family-related career interruptions, we find that short-term human capital depreciation during these career interruptions is significantly lower in female occupations than in male occupations. This holds for both high- and low-skilled occupations. Our findings support the self-selection hypothesis with respect to occupational sex segregation, i.e. women might deliberately choose female occupations because of lower short-term wage penalties for family-related career interruptions. Moreover, we find that particularly men employed in high-skilled male occupations face large short-run as well as long run wage penalties when they have a family related career break.
    Keywords: education, training and the labour market;
    Date: 2007
  2. By: Amend, Elke (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany]); Herbst, Patrick
    Abstract: "Of the typically cited agglomeration advantages labor market pooling receives strong empirical support - yet remains under-explored theoretically. This paper presents a model of human capital formation in an imperfectly competitive, pooled local labor market with heterogeneous workers and firms. Firms produce for a competitive output market with differing technologies, thus requiring diverse skills. In anticipation of firm behavior, workers choose between specializing into specific skills and accumulating general human capital. While labor market pooling provides static effciency gains, our approach also suggests that there are long-term effects: under a diversified industrial structure, industry-specific shocks lead to a labor market pooling advantage which raises the incentive for workers to acquire both general and specific human capital. This will not only strengthen a region's capability to adapt to change but will also contribute to higher growth." (author's abstract, IAB-Doku) ((en))
    JEL: I20 J24 J41
    Date: 2008–01–29
  3. By: Alós-Ferrer, Carlos (University of Konstanz); Prat, Julien (University of Vienna)
    Abstract: This paper extends the job market signaling model of Spence (1973) by allowing firms to learn the ability of their employees over time. Contrary to the model without employer learning, we find that the Intuitive Criterion does not always select a unique separating equilibrium. When the Intuitive Criterion bites and information is purely asymmetric, the separating level of education does not depend on the observability of workers’ types. On the other hand, when workers are also uncertain about their productivity, the separating level of education is ambiguously related to the speed of employer learning.
    Keywords: employer learning, education, job markets, signaling, intuitive criterion
    JEL: I20 C70 D82 D83
    Date: 2008–01
  4. By: Vito Peragine; Laura Serlenga
    Abstract: This paper proposes a definition of equality of educational opportunities. Then, it develops a comprehensive model that allows to test for the existence of equality of opportunity in a given distribution and to rank distributions according to equality of opportunity. Finally, it provides an empirical analysis of equality of opportunity for higher education in Italy.
    Keywords: Equality of Opportunity, Higher Education, Stochastic Dominance
    JEL: D63 I2 C14
    Date: 2007–11
  5. By: Mühlenweg, Andrea Maria
    Abstract: This paper examines educational outcomes of pupils selected to secondary school types by different tracking regimes in a German state: Pupils are alternatively streamed after fourth grade or after sixth grade. Regression results indicate that, estimated on the mean, there are no negative effects of later tracking on educational outcomes in the middle of secondary school. Positive effects are observed for pupils with a less favorable family background. Quantile regressions reveal that the estimated effects of later tracking are positive for the lower quantiles but decrease monotonically over the conditional distribution of test scores.
    Keywords: education, segregation, immigration, school effects
    JEL: I21 I28
    Date: 2007
  6. By: Christelle Dumas (University Cergy-Pontoise-Thema. 33, bd du Port. 95011 Cergy-Pontoise. France.)
    Abstract: This paper assesses the impact of labor performed during childhood on cognitive achievement of teenagers, measured by tests. Introduction of community fixed effects and use of multiple tests taken at the entry of primary school allows to control for unobserved heterogeneity and mea- surement error in the entry tests. We find no detrimental impact of par- ticipation of children to economic activities on their subsequent learning once controlling for the number of years of education but rather a pos- itive, though small, impact. This could come from increased monetary resources. Working more than 4 hours a week or as an employee though prevents the child to learn as much as the other children.
    Keywords: Child labor, Human capital, multiple-indicator, fixed effects.
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2008
  7. By: O Debande; Vincent Vandenberghe
    Abstract: The arguments for refinancing the European Union's (EU) higher education via higher tuition fees largely rest on preserving the profitability of the educational investment and offering deferred and income-contingent payments. Using income survey datasets on Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom (UK) we first estimate how graduates' private return on educational investment is likely to be affected by higher private contributions. We then evaluate the effect of income-contingent and deferred payment mechanisms on lifetime net income and its capacity to account for graduates' ability to pay, considering numerous ways of financing the cost of introducing income-contingency. Our analysis reveals that increasing individuals' contributions to higher education costs, through income-contingent and deferred instruments, does not significantly affect the private rate of return of heterogeneous graduates, allows for payments to be indexed to ability to pay, and can be implemented in ways that minimize the risk of adverse selection. These findings prove robust to significant variations between countries' unharmonised higher education institutional structures.
    Keywords: Higher Education Finance, income-contingent loans, risk pooling and risk shifting
    JEL: I28 H52
    Date: 2007–06
  8. By: Oded Galor; Andrew Mountford
    Abstract: This research argues that the di¤erential e¤ect of international trade on the demand for human capital across countries has been a major determinant of the distribution of income and population across the globe. In developed countries the gains from trade have been directed towards investment in education and growth in income per capita, whereas a signi?cant portion of these gains in less developed economies have been channeled towards population growth. Cross-country regressions establish that indeed trade has positive e¤ects on fertility and negative e¤ects on education in non-OECD economies, while inducing fertility decline and human capital formation in OECD economies.
    Date: 2008
  9. By: O'Higgins, Niall (University of Salerno); D'Amato, Marcello (University of Salerno); Caroleo, Floro Ernesto (University of Naples, Parthenope); Barone, Adriana (University of Salerno)
    Abstract: The aim of the present paper is to gain some insight into the causes of dropping out of school and, more generally, of the factors that induce parents to review their choices about their child’s schooling careers. To this end we apply to data from a school dropout survey insights from a model of sequential decision making by parents, where the initial decision can be reviewed in the light of new information emerging about the ability and opportunities of the child in benefitting from education relative to her outside (in the unskilled market). Analysis of the data confirms the role of both economic capacity (opportunity costs) and cultural capacity (ability to disentangle signals about future opportunities) of the family of origin shape observed choices about drop-out and return to school by individuals in our sample. Dropping out behaviour also appears to be strongly influenced by mismatches between school and student, however, and many of those who leave are not “gone for good”.
    Keywords: human capital, school dropout, young people
    JEL: I21 J13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  10. By: Brunello, Giorgio (University of Padova); De Paola, Maria (University of Calabria); Scoppa, Vincenzo (University of Calabria)
    Abstract: Economists have a poor understanding of the mechanisms underlying reduced-form college peer effects. In this paper we explore a candidate mechanism, the provision of school effort. We show that, when earnings reflect individual educational performance as well as the field of study selected at college, and individual effort is a function of expected earnings, the size of the peer effect varies by field. Using data from a middle-sized public university located in Southern Italy and exploiting the random assignment of first year students to college accommodation, we find evidence that peer effects are positive and statistically significant for students enrolled in the fields of Engineering, Maths and Natural Sciences – which are expected to generate higher earnings after college – and not different from zero for students enrolled in the Humanities, Social and Life Sciences, which give access to lower payoffs. An implication of our model is that shocks affecting college wage premia may alter the size of peer effects.
    Keywords: optimal effort, fields of study, Italy, random assignment, peer effects
    JEL: I21 Z13 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  11. By: Vincent Vandenberghe
    Abstract: There is plenty of evidence across the EU to suggest that young people from poorer backgrounds are less likely to attend tertiary education than their better-off peers. This correlation is often used to justify monetary transfers to families with students. It is not clear, however, that these differences in attendance are caused by income itself rather than by parental ability, motivation, education, and other aspects of the young person's experience which differ between families, but are not a direct result of income. Controlling for observable family characteristics is a useful first step. But further developments are needed as families potentially differ in unobservable ways that are correlated with both income and attendance. In this paper we use families with several children to correct for unobserved time-invariant family fixed effects. Our results suggest the absence of parental income effects in Belgium and Germany, small positive effects in Poland, medium-size positive effect in the UK, and sizeable positive effects in Hungary.
    Keywords: Tertiary education attendance, parental income, liquidity constraints
    JEL: I28 D33 H43
    Date: 2007–06
  12. By: Jeanette Findlay
    Abstract: The persistence of gendered pay inequality some 30 years after its formal prohibition raises questions over the mechanisms sustaining it. Recent contributions highlight the role of low skills visibility and valuation in maintaining pay inequality in predominantly female occupations. We examine the skills and rewards of early years’ workers and the organisational processes that define them. We do so at an important juncture when the importance and regulation of the ‘early years’’ sector has increased significantly; and following extensive organisational restructuring aimed at delivering pay equality. We conclude that whilst the application of more systematic forms of skill measurement have improved the relative rewards of nursery nurses, highly gendered constructions of their skills, particularly those most closely linked to mothering, continue to impact negatively on their valuation. The presence of caring activities appears to eclipse their role in education. Complex institutional and organisational factors maintain important aspects of gender inequality.
    Keywords: caring, early years’, gender, grading, inequality, pay, skills, valuation
    Date: 2007–11

This nep-hrm issue is ©2008 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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