Educational Self-Selection and Tasks Assignment

Arnaud Dupuy, ROA, Maastricht University

In this paper, I develop a tasks assignment model with endogenous
human capital formation. Workers are initially endowed with abilities of
two types and select their education according to their abilities. The educational
system transforms workers’ abilities into skills of two types. To
produce output firms assign tasks −which differ in both the type and the
level of skills they require− to workers following Ricardo’s principle of
comparative advantage. I provide a family of closed form solutions of
the model when tasks are distributed according to the Beta distribution
and the output production function is of the well-known and broadly used
CES form. Some calibrations of the model enable to link changes in the US
wage distribution observed in the last 4 decades to changes in the degree
of heterogeneity of workers’ skills, the distribution of tasks and skill-biased
technical change.

Date: 10 May-00 0000