. In: Handbook of Cliometrics. Springer Verlag; Forthcoming.Abstract
Human capital is the stock of skills that the labor force possesses. The flow of these skills is forthcoming when the return to investment exceeds the cost (both direct and indirect). Returns to these skills are private in the sense that an individual’s productive capacity increases with more of them. But there are often externalities that increase the productive capacity of others when human capital is increased. This essay discusses these concepts historically and focuses on two major components of human capital: education and training, and health. The institutions that encourage human capital investment are discussed, as is the role of human capital in economic growth. The notion that the study of human capital is inherently historical is emphasized and defended.
Occupations are segregated by sex today, but were far more segregated in the early to mid-twentieth century. It is difficult to rationalize sex segregation and “wage discrimination” on the basis of men’s taste for distance from women in the same way differences between other groups in work and housing have been explained. Rather, this paper constructs a “pollution” theory model of discrimination in which occupations are defined by the level of a single-dimensional productivity characteristic. Because there is asymmetric information regarding the value of the characteristic of an individual woman, a new female hire may reduce the prestige of a previously all-male occupation. The predictions of the model include that occupations requiring a level of the characteristic above the female median will be segregated by sex and those below the median will be integrated. The historical record reveals numerous cases of the model’s predictions. For example in 1940 the greater is the productivity characteristic of an office and clerical occupation, the higher the occupational segregation by sex. “Credentialization” that spreads information about individual women’s productivities and shatters old stereotypes can help expunge “pollution.”
. American Economic Review. 2014;104(4):1091-1119.Abstract
The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in the last century. These aspects of the grand gender convergence are figurative chapters in a history of gender roles. But what must the “last” chapter contain for there to be equality in the labor market? The answer may come as a surprise. The solution does not (necessarily) have to involve government intervention and it need not make men more responsible in the home (although that wouldn’t hurt). But it must involve changes in the labor market, in particular how jobs are structured and remunerated to enhance temporal flexibility. The gender gap in pay would be considerably reduced and might vanish altogether if firms did not have an incentive to disproportionately reward individuals who labored long hours and worked particular hours. Such change has taken off in various sectors, such as technology, science and health, but is less apparent in the corporate, financial and legal worlds.
Pharmacy has become a female-majority profession that is highly remunerated with a small gender
earnings gap and low earnings dispersion relative to other occupations. We sketch a labor market
framework based on the theory of equalizing differences to integrate and interpret our empirical findings
on earnings, hours of work, and the part-time work wage penalty for pharmacists. Using extensive
surveys of pharmacists for 2000, 2004, and 2009 as well as samples from the American Community
Surveys and the Current Population Surveys, we explore the gender earnings gap, the penalty to part-time
work, labor force persistence, and the demographics of pharmacists relative to other college graduates.
We address why the substantial entrance of women into the profession was associated with an increase
in their earnings relative to male pharmacists. We conclude that the changing nature of pharmacy
employment with the growth of large national pharmacy chains and hospitals and the related decline
of independent pharmacies played key roles in the creation of a more family-friendly, female-friendly
pharmacy profession. The position of pharmacist is probably the most egalitarian of all U.S. professions