Experience vs. obsolescence: a vintage-human-capital model Articles uri icon

publication date

  • March 2014

start page

  • 709

end page

  • 739


  • 150

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-0531

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-7235


  • I introduce endogenous human-capital accumulation into an infinite-horizon version of Chari and Hopenhayn's (1991) [4] vintage-human-capital model. Returns to skill and tenure premia are highest in young vintages, where skill is scarcest and agents accumulate human capital fastest. As the vintage ages, the skill premium decreases and vanishes entirely upon vintage death. Workers run through cycles of human-capital accumulation: their wages rise as they accumulate skill, undergo downward pressure as the technology ages, and finally drop sharply when the worker switches to a new technology. The results are in line with German linked employer-employee data: tenure premia are highest in young establishments, as well as in fast-growing industries, occupations and establishments. A calibration exercise suggests that human-capital accumulation is the most important determinant of workers' wage profiles, whereas changes to the price of skill and vintage productivity gains play a smaller quantitative role. (C) 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


  • vintage human capital; tenure-wage profiles; economic growth; technology; investment; diffusion; j01; e24