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Employer Learning and the “Importance†of Skills

Audrey Light () and Andrew McGee

Journal of Human Resources, 2015, vol. 50, issue 1, 72-107

Abstract: We ask whether employer learning in the wage-setting process depends on skill type and skill importance to productivity, using measures of seven premarket skills and data for each skill’s importance to occupation-specific productivity. Before incorporating importance measures, we find evidence of employer learning for each skill type, for college and high school graduates, and for blue-and white-collar workers, but no evidence that employer learning varies significantly across skill or worker type. When we allow parameters identifying employer learning and screening to vary by skill importance, we identify tradeoffs between learning and screening for some (but not all) skills.

Date: 2015
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