Production and Learning in Teams

Kyle Herkenhoff, Jeremy Lise, Guido Menzio, Gordon M. Phillips

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    To what extent is a worker's human capital growth affected by the quality of his coworkers? To answer this question, we develop and estimate a model in which the productivity and the human capital growth of an individual depend on the average human capital of his coworkers. The measured production function is supermodular: The marginal product of a more knowledgeable individual is increasing in the human capital of his coworkers. The measured human capital accumulation function is convex: An individual's human capital growth is increasing in coworkers' human capital only when paired with more knowledgeable coworkers, but independent of coworkers' human capital when paired with less knowledgeable coworkers. Learning from coworkers accounts for two thirds of the stock of human capital accumulated on the job. Technological changes that increase production supermodularity lead to labor market segregation and, by reducing the opportunities for low human capital workers to learn from better coworkers, lead to a decline in aggregate human capital and output.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)467-504
    Number of pages38
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - Mar 2024


    • Human capital
    • knowledge diffusion
    • search frictions

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Economics and Econometrics


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