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International comparisons of private sector training.

The NBER and the Centre for Economic Performance, London School of Economics, jointly sponsored a conference on "International Comparisons of Private Sector Training" in London on December 16 and 17. The program, organized by NBER Faculty Research Fellow Lisa M. Lynch of MIT, was:

John Bishop, Cornell University, "The Impact of

Previous Training in Schools and on Jobs on

Productivity, Required OJT, and Turnover of New Hires"

Discussant: Anders Bjorklund, Swedish Institute for

Social Research

Andrew M. Weiss, Boston University, "Productivity

Changes Without Formal Training"

Discussant: Alison Booth, Birkbeck College

Stephen V. Cameron, University of Chicago, and

James J. Heckman, NBER and University of

Chicago, "The Determinants and Outcomes of Post-Secondary

Training: A Comparison of High School

Graduates, Dropouts, and High School Equivalents"

Discussant: Stephen J. Nickell, Oxford University

David G. Blanchflower, NBER and Dartmouth

College, and Lisa M. Lynch, "Training at Work: A

Comparison of U.S. and British Youths"

Discussant: Peter Elias, Warwick University

Peter Dolton, University of Newcastle Upon Tyne;

Gerald Makepeace, University of Hull; and John

Treble, University of Essex, "Vocational Training

in the Early Careers of British School Leavers"

Discussant: Wim Groot, Leiden University

David Soskice, Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin fur

Sozialforschung, "The German Training System:

Reconciling Markets and Institutions"

Discussant: Hilary Steedman, National Institute of

Economic and Social Research

Peter Berg, University of Notre Dame, "Strategic

Adjustments in Training: A Comparative Analysis of

the U.S. and German Automobile Industries"

Discussant: Richard Disney, University of Kent

Masanori Hashimoto, Ohio State University,

"Employment-Based Training in Japanese Firms in

Japan and in the United States"

Discussant: Mari Sako, London School of Economics

Using two U.S. employer surveys, Bishop identifies the impact of employer-provided training on the productivity and labor turnover of new hires. He finds higher productivity and lower training costs among employees trained in private vocational/technical rather than similar public institutions. Specifically, these new hires on average have a 22 percent higher overall productivity, net of training costs, during their first three months of employment.

Weiss examines the productivity changes associated with informal training. Using unique and detailed information on four groups of semiskilled production workers in the United States, he concludes that learning-by-doing is not an important determinant of productivity changes.

Cameron and Heckman consider the difference in the patterns of skill development for high school graduates, high school dropouts, and dropouts who later obtain high school equivalency through General Educational Development (GED) exams. Specifically, they show that high school graduates do better than GED youths in terms of hours, wages, and weeks worked. However, the GED is useful in getting some of these youths into private sector training.

Blanchflower and Lynch analyze the skill development pattern for youths in the United States and Great Britain who are not university graduates. They show that the incidence of training for these types of workers is much higher in Britain than in the United States. The key feature to training in Britain is certification through exams that are recognized nationally. Blanchflower and Lynch also show that, with recent changes in British training policy, the link between post-school training and qualifications seems to have been broken.

Dolton, Makepeace, and Treble continue the discussion on post-school training in Great Britain and examine the returns to the new government-led Youth Training Program. Their work indicates that the returns to this new type of training are lower than the returns associated with the previous apprenticeship programs examined by Blanchflower and Lynch.

Soskice analyzes how the German system of education and training works in the context of market and institutional forces. He describes three critical institutions that result in higher skills development in Germany than elsewhere: the long-term relationships of banks with firms; the role of works councils in negotiating conditions of training at the local level; and employer associations and local chambers of commerce providing external expertise in establishing and monitoring employer training.

Berg presents a detailed case study of the training practices in 18 German and U.S. auto plants. He documents the difference in the number of hours and the training content of workers in similar occupations in the two countries.

Hashimoto contrasts the training practices of Japanese auto manufacturers with plants in the United States and Japan. He contends that the different labor market practices in training between Japan and the United States reflect differences in the investment made in the employment relationship. Specifically, he argues that Japanese firms can offer more training in Japan because the costs are lower: Japanese workers have already acquired "citizenship" skills in school, and on the Japanese shop floor there is an emphasis on teamwork and problem-solving.

A conference volume will be published by the University of Chicago Press. Its availability will be announced in a future issue of the NBER Reporter.
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Title Annotation:Conferences
Publication:NBER Reporter
Date:Dec 22, 1991
Previous Article:Economics of the environment.
Next Article:The development of the American economy.

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