Essays on Workers' Human Capital Accumulation and Wage Experience Profiles
This dissertation consists of three chapters. Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 jointly offer an explanation for why workers in richer countries have faster rates of wage growth over their lifetimes than workers in poorer countries. We propose that workers in richer economies receive more firm-provided training. In Chapter 1, we document two main facts: the share of workers who receive firm-provided training increases with development, and that this is a key determinant of worker human capital investments. In Chapter 2 we build a general equilibrium search model with firm-training investments and frictional labor markets. Our model suggests firm-training accounts for a large share of the cross-country wage growth differences. We find that self-employment is a key factor explaining the lack of training in the poorest economies, whereas labor market frictions are key to explaining training differences within firms as countries develop. Finally, our model predicts considerable inefficiencies in human capital investments and sizeable aggregate gains from training subsidies to firms, which may be particularly desirable in poor countries where economic environments disincentivize training.
Chapter 3 studies how exporting shapes experience-wage profiles. Using detailed Brazilian employer-employee and customs data, we document that workers' experience-wage profiles are steeper in exporters than in non-exporters. Aside from self-selection of firms with higher returns to experience into exporting, we show that workers' experience-wage profiles are steeper when firms export to industrialized destinations. We propose that this result is likely driven by faster human capital accumulation of workers in firms that export to advanced economies. To support our preferred hypothesis, we use the World Bank Enterprise Surveys and document that exporters are more likely to train workers than non-exporters, especially when they adopt foreign technology.