Human Capital and the Long‐Term View of the Labor Market
This chapter starts by making a brief portrait of labor economics in the decades preceding Mincer's work. When Jacob Mincer started his academic career, labor economics was finishing a long process of change that marked the postwar years. This transformation, crucial for understanding the emergence of human capital theory, was generally characterized by the increasing pervasiveness of neoclassical economic theory in a field traditionally more attached to an empirical and institutionalist research agenda. Under the stimulus of some prominent labor researchers, Mincer became increasingly interested in labor issues, namely in labor supply behavior. This chapter analyzes some of his major pieces of research around the theme of labor supply and lifetime labor income, and the way these differed from previous labor research. This work is also presented in a way that shows the close links between Mincer's research on human capital and the long-term behavior of labor supply.
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