Employer Learning, Statistical Discrimination and Occupational Attainment

13 Pages Posted: 4 Oct 2005

See all articles by Joseph G. Altonji

Joseph G. Altonji

Yale University - Economic Growth Center; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Date Written: 2005


I examine the implications of employer learning and statistical discrimination for initial employment rates, wages, and occupational attainment and for wage growth and occupational change over a career using a model in which the sensitivity of productivity to worker skill is increasing in the skill requirements of the job and in which employers learn about worker skill more rapidly in high skill jobs. I show that statistical discrimination influences initial employment rates, wage levels and job type, and that employers' initial estimate of productivity influences wage growth even in an environment in which access to training is not an issue. The implication is that the market may be slow to learn that a worker is highly skilled if worker's best early job opportunity given the information available to employers is a low skill level job that reveals little about the worker's talent.

Keywords: statistical discrimination, employer learning, wages, employment, occupational attainment

JEL Classification: L11, L13, L82

Suggested Citation

Altonji, Joseph G., Employer Learning, Statistical Discrimination and Occupational Attainment (2005). Yale Working Papers on Economic Applications and Policy Discussion Paper No. 3. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=819344

Joseph G. Altonji (Contact Author)

Yale University - Economic Growth Center ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, CT 06520-8269
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Box 208281
New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

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