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Knowledge acquisition within an organization: How to retain a knowledge worker using wage profile and non-monotonic knowledge accumulation

In this paper, we consider a knowledge accumulation problem within an organization. We depart from the human capital theory initiated by Becker (1962, 1964) and consider an organization that cannot prevent the worker from quitting and using the knowledge outside the organization. We study how the employer optimally distorts the knowledge accumulation path and chooses a wage profile in order to mitigate the commitment problem. We show that knowledge accumulation is delayed: the fraction of working time allocated to knowledge creation is highest at the early career stage, falls gradually, then rises again, before falling finally toward zero. We determine the effect of a change in the severity of the enforcement problem (or the specificity of knowledge). We also discuss the form of the optimal life-cycle wage profiles, the role of the initial knowledge level and the role of discounting
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