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Minimum wages and training

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Author Info

  • Lechthaler, Wolfgang
  • Snower, Dennis J.

Abstract

The paper analyzes the influence of minimum wages on firms' incentive to train their employees. We show that this influence rests on two countervailing effects: minimum wages (i) augment wage compression and thereby raise firms' incentives to train and (ii) reduce the profitability of employees, raise the firing rate and thereby reduce training. Our analysis shows that the relative strength of these two effects depends on the employees' ability levels. Our striking result is that minimum wages give rise to skills inequality: a rise in the minimum wage leads to less training for low-ability workers and more training for those of higher ability. In short, minimum wages create a "low-skill trap." We indicate that this effect may be important empirically. Finally, including workers' incentives to train themselves makes no major difference to our results.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Labour Economics.

Volume (Year): 15 (2008)
Issue (Month): 6 (December)
Pages: 1223-1237

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Handle: RePEc:eee:labeco:v:15:y:2008:i:6:p:1223-1237

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/labeco

Related research

Keywords: J24 J31 Minimum Wage Firm Training Skills Inequality;

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References

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  1. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  2. Stéphane Carcillo & Etienne Wasmer, 2003. "Bilateral Worker-Firm Training Decisions and an Application to Discrimination," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/8941, Sciences Po.
  3. Adam J. Grossberg & Paul Sicilian, 1999. "Minimum Wages, On-the-Job Training, and Wage Growth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 539-556, January.
  4. David S. Lee, 1999. "WAGE INEQUALITY IN THE UNITED STATES DURING THE 1980s: RISING DISPERSION OR FALLING MINIMUM WAGE?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 977-1023, August.
  5. Wilke, Ralf A., 2004. "New Estimates of the Duration and Risk of Unemployment for West-Germany," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-26, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  6. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1998. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," NBER Working Papers 6651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Stéphane CARCILLO & Etienne WASMER, 2003. "Bilateral Worker-Firm Training Decisions and an Application to Discrimination," Annales d'Economie et de Statistique, ENSAE, issue 71-72, pages 317-345.
  8. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
  9. Loewenstein, Mark A & Spletzer, James R, 1998. "Dividing the Costs and Returns to General Training," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 16(1), pages 142-71, January.
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Cited by:
  1. Boss, Alfred & Dovern, Jonas & Meier, Carsten-Patrick & Oskamp, Frank & Scheide, Joachim, 2008. "Deutschland: Robuste Binnenkonjunktur - Dämpfer aus dem Ausland," Open Access Publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy 4306, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).

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