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Lunch Seminar with Christina Langer | The Value of Skills: New Evidence from Apprenticeship Plans

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Join us on Monday, September 26, 2022, when Christina Langer of the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt joins us to share her research.

Join us for lunch starting at 11:45am, with talk to follow 12-1pm. 

Abstract: We construct novel measures of worker skills that are directly relevant on the labor market, objective, and highly detailed. To do so, we exploit the unique setting of the German apprenticeship system, which mandates that the same skills are developed in a particular apprenticeship regardless of the training location. Skill requirements of apprenticeships are codified in state-approved, nationally standardized apprenticeship plans. These plans not only provide information on the skill content of apprenticeships, containing almost 20,000 different skills, but also on the exact duration a specific skill is learnt. We link the skill measures to administrative labor market data covering more than 40 years. Following apprenticed workers over their careers, we find that workers who completed an apprenticeship that provides higher cognitive, social, or digital skills earn higher wages over long-run horizons. The returns to an additional month of learning these skills amounts to one-tenth to one-fifth of the return to a full year of schooling. Exploiting the long time coverage of our administrative data, we document that particularly returns to digital skills have soared since the 1990s. Returns to social skills have also increased strongly over time, while the increase in returns to cognitive skills is more muted.

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