A model of reputation is developed to show how firms operating in concentrated sectors can use the sponsorship of general human capital investments to specifically trained workers as a device of commitment with prospective employees. Employees of firms that operate in concentrated sectors learn skills that are valuable only for a limited number of alternative employers. This gives monopsonistic power to the training firm over the trained workers. Anticipating it, potential employees will be reluctant to work for the firm unless the employer is able to commit oneself’ must be turned back to ‘herself. I argue that human resource policies including the provision of general human capital to workers reduce employers’ commitment costs. Evidence from two representative samples of workers from Spain and the United Kingdom show that, consistent with the predictions of the model, firms from more concentrated sectors are more likely to sponsor their employees’ education.
I thank Manuel F. Bagüés, Maia Güell, Neus Palomeras, Eduardo C. Rodes-Mayor and one anonymous reviewer for their comments on an earlier version of this work.
Melero, E. (2014), "Job-Related Training and Education Sponsorship: An Analysis Based on Market Concentration", International Perspectives on Participation (Advances in the Economic Analysis of Participatory & Labor-Managed Firms, Vol. 15), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 185-223. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0885-333920140000015015
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