Discovering one's talent: Learning from academic specialization

Ofer Malamud*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

The author examines an exogenous difference in the timing of academic specialization within the British system of higher education to test whether education yields information about one's match quality in different fields of study. In distinguishing between systems requiring early and late specialization, he predicts the likelihood of an individual switching to an occupation unrelated to one's field of study. If higher education serves mainly to provide specific skills, the model predicts more switching in a system requiring late specialization since the cost of switching is lower in terms of foregone skills. Using the Universities Statistical Record from 1972 to 1993 and the 1980 National Survey of Graduates and Diplomates, he finds that individuals who specialize early, as in the case of England, are more likely to switch to an unrelated occupation, implying that the benefits to increased match quality are sufficiently large to outweigh the greater loss in skills from specializing early.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)375-405
Number of pages31
JournalIndustrial and Labor Relations Review
Volume64
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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