nep-hrm New Economics Papers
on Human Capital and Human Resource Management
Issue of 2008‒02‒09
nine papers chosen by
Fabio Sabatini
University of Rome, La Sapienza

  1. Human Capital Specificity: Evidence from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles and Displaced Worker Surveys 1984-2000 By Maxim Poletaev; Chris Robinson
  2. Who chooses to become an entrepreneur? The Jacks-of-all-Trades in Social and Human Capital By Uschi Backes-Gellner; Petra Moog
  3. The Process of Creative Construction: Knowledge Spillovers, Entrepreneurship and Economic Growth By Rajshree Agarwal; David Audretsch; MB Sarkar
  4. Matching frictions and the divide of schooling investment between general and specific skills By Decreuse, Bruno; Granier, Pierre
  5. Understanding Long-Run African Growth: Colonial Institutions or Colonial Education? Evidence from a New Data Set By Bolt, Jutta; Bezemer, Dirk
  6. What happened to the PISA 2000 participants five years later? By Kathrin Bertschy; Alejandra Cattaneo; Stefan C. Wolter
  7. The transition generation: young people in school and work in Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States By Sheila Marnie; Leonardo Menchini
  8. How effective are poor schools? Poverty and educational outcomes in South Africa By Servaas Van der Berg
  9. The Effects of Human Resource Management Practices on Firm Performance - Preliminary Evidence from Finland By Derek C. Jones; Panu Kalmi; Takao Kato; Mikko Mäkinen

  1. By: Maxim Poletaev (University of Western Ontario); Chris Robinson (University of Western Ontario)
    Abstract: This paper uses information from the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT) and Displaced Worker Surveys (DWS) to provide evidence on the source of human capital specificity. Measures of four basic skills are constructed from the detailed DOT information. These measures are used to characterize the skill portfolio of each job and to construct distance measures between jobs. The pattern of wage losses from the DWS shows that large losses are more closely associated with switching skill portfolios than switching industry or occupation code per se and that these switches represent large decreases in the underlying skill portfolio in the post-displacement job. The recent evidence for industry specific capital is re-examined. An analysis using the same methods as Neal (1995) that incorporates the skill portfolio measures provides further evidence in favor of broad skill based specificity.
    Date: 2008
  2. By: Uschi Backes-Gellner (Institute for Strategy and Business Economics, University of Zurich); Petra Moog (University of Siegen)
    Abstract: This paper studies willingness to become an entrepreneur depending on an individual’s composition of human and social capital. Our theoretical analysis is an extension of Lazear’s (2005) jack-of-all-trades theory. Our primary implication is that it is not individuals with a higher level of human or social capital but rather individuals with a more balanced portfolio of human and social capital that are more willing than others to become entrepreneurs. We use survey data from a sample of more than 2000 German students to test this hypothesis and find that the jacks-of-all-trades, i.e. the more balanced individuals are more likely to become entrepreneurs. On the other hand, the Masters-in-One, i.e. the specialists, are better off being an employee and rightly prefer to be so.
    Keywords: Entrepreneurship, Jack-of-all-trades theory, Social capital
    JEL: L26 J24
    Date: 2007–02
  3. By: Rajshree Agarwal (University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign); David Audretsch (Max Planck Institute of Economics); MB Sarkar (University of Central Florida)
    Abstract: Questioning the underlying assumptions of the process of creative destruction, we conceptualize an alternative process of creative construction that may characterize the dynamics between entrants and incumbents. We discuss the underlying mechanism of knowledge spillover strategic entrepreneurship whereby knowledge investments by existing organizations, when coupled with entrepreneurial action by individuals embedded in their context, results in new venture creation, heterogeneity in performance and subsequent growth in industries, regions and economies. The framework has implications for future research in entrepreneurship, strategy and economic growth.
    Keywords: growth, spillovers, creative destruction, entrepreneurship
    JEL: L16 L21 M13 O11 O40 O57
    Date: 2008–01–30
  4. By: Decreuse, Bruno; Granier, Pierre
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of labor market frictions and institutions on the divide of schooling investment between general and specific skills. We offer a simple matching model of unemployment in which individuals determine the scope and intensity of their skills. In partial equilibrium, we show that the severity of market frictions distorts the schooling allocation towards more general skills. Then, we endogenize job creation and argue that changes in labor market institutions may well originate a non-monotonous relationship between unemployment and the divide of skills between specific and general human capital. We also investigate more carefully the impacts of unemployment compensation, minimum wage and firing costs. We suggest that unemployment compensation has an ambiguous impact on the skill divide, while minimum wage and firing costs are detrimental to general skill acquisition.
    Keywords: Matching frictions; education; general and specific skills; labour market institutions
    JEL: I21 J24
    Date: 2007–12
  5. By: Bolt, Jutta; Bezemer, Dirk
    Abstract: Long-term growth in developing countries has been explained in four frameworks: ‘extractive colonial institutions’ (Acemoglu et al., 2001), ‘colonial legal origin’ (La Porta et al., 2004) ‘geography’ (Gallup et al., 1998) and ‘colonial human capital’ (Glaeser et al., 2004). In this paper we test the ‘colonial human capital’ explanation for sub-Saharan Africa, controlling for legal origins and geography. Utilizing freshly collected data on colonial-era population density and education, we find that in sub-Saharan Africa, high European population mortality did not lead to low European population densities, contra Acemoglu et al., (2001). Further, we find that instrumented human capital explains long-term growth better, and shows greater stability over time, than instrumented measures for extractive institutions. We therefore suggest that the impact of the disease environment on African long-term growth runs through a human capital channel rather than an extractive-institutions channel. The effect of education is robust to including variables capturing legal origin and geography, which have additional explanatory power. We also find some evidence that institutions are endogenous to education.
    Keywords: Africa; growth; institutions; education; colonial history
    JEL: O11 O10 P51 P16
    Date: 2008–02
  6. By: Kathrin Bertschy; Alejandra Cattaneo (Socioeconomic Institute, University of Zurich); Stefan C. Wolter (Institute of Economics, University of Berne)
    Abstract: The transition from school-to-work has been a burning issue in most countries for the last decades. So far research on this topic has not been conclusive, and it is still not clear whether transition problems are just individual, linked to the type of education followed at uppersecondary level, or just a prolongation of problems arising from poor school performance during compulsory education. This paper uses a unique Swiss longitudinal data-set, which includes information on PISA 2000 scores and the pathways chosen after completing compulsory school. Descriptive results show that students in vocational training, who obtained lower PISA results, are significantly more likely to be in an inadequate employment situation two years after finishing vocational training. Further analysis shows, however, that it is the type of vocational training followed at upper-secondary level that is decisive for the success in the transition. Nevertheless, individual PISA scores have an indirect impact on the transition results, as they are an important factor explaining which pupils are more likely to get into an intellectually demanding vocational training and which ones are not.
    Keywords: PISA, transition, vocational training
    JEL: I2 J24
    Date: 2008–01
  7. By: Sheila Marnie; Leonardo Menchini
    Abstract: Young people go through several transitions in their path from childhood to adulthood: in education, work, family formation, health and citizenship. This paper focuses on the transition from school to labour market for the generation of young people in CEE/CIS who experienced the most turbulent years of the transition in their formative years.
    Keywords: transition from school to work; transitional economies; youth;; Baltic States; Eastern Europe; Russia;
    JEL: I31 P36
    Date: 2007
  8. By: Servaas Van der Berg
    Abstract: Massive differentials on achievement tests and examinations reflect South Africa’s divided past. Improving the distribution of educational outcomes is imperative to overcome labour market inequalities. Historically white and Indian schools still outperform black and coloured schools in examinations, and intraclass correlation coefficients (rho) reflect far greater between-school variance compared to overall variance than for other countries. SACMEQ’s rich data sets provide new possibilities for investigating relationships between educational outcomes, socio-economic status (SES), pupil and teacher characteristics, school resources and school processes. As a different data generating process applied in affluent historically white schools (test scores showed bimodal distributions), part of the analysis excluded such schools, sharply reducing rho. Test scores were regressed on various SES measures and school inputs for the full and reduced sample, using survey regression and hierarchical (multilevel) (HLM) models to deal with sample design and nested data. This shows that the school system was not yet systematically able to overcome inherited socio-economic disadvantage, and poor schools least so. Schools diverged in their ability to convert inputs into outcomes, with large standard deviations for random effects in the HLM models. The models explained three quarters of the large between-school variance but little of the smaller within-school variance. Outside of the richest schools, SES had only a mild impact on test scores, which were quite low in SACMEQ context.
    Keywords: Analysis of Education
    JEL: J21
    Date: 2008–01–16
  9. By: Derek C. Jones; Panu Kalmi; Takao Kato; Mikko Mäkinen
    Abstract: ABSTRACT : This paper presents the first empirical evidence on the nature and effects of human resource practices (HRM) in the Finnish manufacturing sector. In the analysis, we use the novel survey on HRM practices, based on a representative random sample from the population of the Finnish manufacturing firms who had 50 or more employees in 2005. In the sample, we have firm-level information on several HRM and employee participation practices of 398 firms, which is 38% of the firms in the population and almost 50% of the survey respondents. To study how HRM practices affect the level of firm productivity, we first combined the HRM survey data with financial statement data and then estimated cross-sectional and panel data estimators for the Cobb-Douglas production functions. We find that both the incidence of employee participation practices and the incidence of HRM tools have increased in the manufacturing sector from 2002 to 2005. The empirical findings support the view of a positive association with the HRM practices and the level of firm productivity. Perhaps more importantly, however, we find that not all forms of employee financial and decision-making participation practices have favorable productivity effects : consultative committee and profit sharing scheme has a positive effect, but other practices do not have statistically significant effects.
    Keywords: new workplace practices, HRM, employee participation, productivity
    JEL: M54 J53 L23
    Date: 2008–01–30

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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