School of Economics

Learning in Good Firms

Diego Battiston (University of Edinburgh) has received funding from the British Academy's BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants to carry out data-driven research on earnings inequality in a research project titled "Learning in Good Firms".

"Learning in Good Firms" 

Understanding the sources of earnings inequality across workers and firms is a fundamental issue in economics and also essential for policymakers. In recent years, access to big datasets following millions of workers and firms over time has allowed researchers to empirically disentangle the underlying drivers of earnings disparities. However, existing approaches assume that inequality mainly arises from two sources: permanent differences in firms’ or workers’ productivity and the fact that highly productive workers sort into highly productive firms. We challenge this approach by studying (and estimating) an unstudied source of inequality. Namely, that some firms allow workers to accumulate skills faster than others. Crucially, workers in such firms receive a wage premium that persists even after they move to a different firm. We will study this effect using German administrative data and a novel empirical method based on estimating how past employment trajectories of workers (across firms) affect their wage.

Diego Battiston

Diego Battiston is a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) at the University of Edinburgh's School of Economics, an Associate in the Centre for Economic Performance's at LSE and Affiliated to CESifo. He completed his PhD in Economics at the London School of Economics in 2018.

His research interests lie in the areas of Labor Economics, Organisational Economics and Development Economics. He is also interested in Data Science and Machine Learning applications.

BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants

The BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grants stand as one of the Academy’s highest profile programmes with awards made to academics working at around 100 Institutions around the UK. These awards, up to £10,000 in value and tenable for up to 24 months.

For more information about this project, or if you are a member of research staff at the School of Economics and are interested in applying for a BA/Leverhulme Small Research Grant, please contact  

For resources for preparing your grant application and more, follow the link below to our dedicated SharePoint:

Resources for Economics Researchers