Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support

Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority

Robert Topel
Journal of Political Economy
Vol. 99, No. 1 (Feb., 1991), pp. 145-176
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2937716
Page Count: 32
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Download ($14.00)
  • Subscribe ($19.50)
  • Cite this Item
If you need an accessible version of this item please contact JSTOR User Support
Specific Capital, Mobility, and Wages: Wages Rise with Job Seniority
Preview not available

Abstract

The idea that wages rise relative to alternatives as job seniority accumulates is the foundation of the theory of specific human capital, as well as other widely accepted theories of compensation. The fact that persons with longer job tenures typically earn higher wages tends to support these views, yet this evidence ignores the decisions that have brought individuals to the combination of wages, job tenure, and experience that are observed in survey data. Allowing for sources of bias generated by these decisions, this paper uses longitudinal data to estimate a lower bound on the average return to job seniority among adult men. I find that 10 years of current job seniority raise the wage of the typical male worker in the United States by over 25 percent. This is an estimate of what the typical worker would lose if his job were to end exogenously. Overall, the evidence implies that accumulation of specific capital is an important ingredient of the typical employment relationship and of life cycle earnings and productivity as well. Continuation of these relationships has substantial specific value for workers.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
145
    145
  • Thumbnail: Page 
146
    146
  • Thumbnail: Page 
147
    147
  • Thumbnail: Page 
148
    148
  • Thumbnail: Page 
149
    149
  • Thumbnail: Page 
150
    150
  • Thumbnail: Page 
151
    151
  • Thumbnail: Page 
152
    152
  • Thumbnail: Page 
153
    153
  • Thumbnail: Page 
154
    154
  • Thumbnail: Page 
155
    155
  • Thumbnail: Page 
156
    156
  • Thumbnail: Page 
157
    157
  • Thumbnail: Page 
158
    158
  • Thumbnail: Page 
159
    159
  • Thumbnail: Page 
160
    160
  • Thumbnail: Page 
161
    161
  • Thumbnail: Page 
162
    162
  • Thumbnail: Page 
163
    163
  • Thumbnail: Page 
164
    164
  • Thumbnail: Page 
165
    165
  • Thumbnail: Page 
166
    166
  • Thumbnail: Page 
167
    167
  • Thumbnail: Page 
168
    168
  • Thumbnail: Page 
[169]
    [169]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
170
    170
  • Thumbnail: Page 
171
    171
  • Thumbnail: Page 
172
    172
  • Thumbnail: Page 
173
    173
  • Thumbnail: Page 
174
    174
  • Thumbnail: Page 
175
    175
  • Thumbnail: Page 
176
    176