The literature has not yet resolved whether the effect of macroeconomic fluctuations on training decisions is positive or negative. On the one hand, the opportunity cost to train is lower during downturns, and thus training should be counter-cyclical. On the other hand, a positive shock may be related to the adoption of new technologies and increased returns to skill, making training incidence pro-cyclical. Using the Canadian panel of Workplace and Employee Survey (WES), we document another important channel at work: the relative position of a sector also matters. We find not only that training moves counter-cyclically with the aggregate business cycle (more training during downturns), but also that the idiosyncratic sectoral shocks have a positive impact on training incidence (more training in sectors doing relatively better). These findings help us better understand training decisions by firms.
Caponi, Vincenzo; Kayahan, Cevat Burc; and Plesca, Miana, "The Impact of Aggregate and Sectoral Fluctuations on Training Decisions" (2009). Economics Publications and Research. Paper 17.