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Human Capital and Worker Productivity: Direct Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data

John M. ABOWD and Francis KRAMARZ
Annales d'Économie et de Statistique
No. 79/80, Contributions in memory of Zvi Griliches (JULY/DECEMBER 2005), pp. 323-338
Published by: GENES on behalf of ADRES
DOI: 10.2307/20777580
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20777580
Page Count: 16
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Human Capital and Worker Productivity: Direct Evidence from Linked Employer-Employee Data
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Abstract

The long literatures on the determinants of wage rates at the individual level and on the empirical relation between productivity and wage rates intersect when attention is focused on longitudinally linked employer-employee data. We estimate separate statistical components of wage rates associated with the observable individual characteristics, unobservable individual heterogeneity and unobservable employer heterogeneity. We define general human capital as the portable components of the full-time, full-year wage rate. Within each employer in the linked sample, we create employer-aggregates of the general human capital. We then estimate the relation between sales per employee, general human capital, and employer wage heterogeneity using micro data for the employing firms. The results reveal direct statistical links between the productivity outcome (sales/worker) and general human capital, controlling for firm-specific wage rate heterogeneity, which can be interpreted as specific human capital or as part of a firm-specific compensation strategy. Les littératures abondantes et anciennes sur les déterminants du salaire et sur le lien empirique entre salaire et productivité se croisent dès lors que l'on utilise des données appariant informations sur l'individu et informations sur l'employeur. Nous décomposons le salaire en des effets des observables individuels, des inobservables employeurs et des inobservables employés. Le capital humain général est portable d'une entreprise à l'autre. Nous agrégeons le capital humain de ses salariés pour chaque entreprise de notre échantillon. Nous estimons ensuite le lien entre les ventes, ce capital humain et l'hétérogénéité spécifique à l'entreprise. Les liens entre productivité (ventes par employé) et capital humain spécifique à l'entreprise apparaissent fortement présents dans nos estimations, même après avoir contrôlé l'effet de la rémunération spécifique à l'entreprise. Plusieurs interprétations de ce résultat restent possibles.

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