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Labor Market Institutions, Wages and Investment

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  • Joern-Steffen Pischke

Abstract

Labor market institutions, via their effect on the wage structure, affect the investment decisions of firms in labor markets with frictions. This observation helps explain rising wage inequality in the US, but a relatively stable wage structure in Europe in the 1980s. These different trends are the result of different investment decisions by firms for the jobs typically held by less-skilled workers. Firms in Europe have more incentives to invest in less-skilled workers, because minimum wages or union contracts mandate that relatively high wages have to be paid to these workers. I report some empirical evidence for investments in training and physical capital across the Atlantic, which is roughly in line with this theoretical reasoning.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1278.

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Date of creation: 2004
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Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1278

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Keywords: frictional labor markets; human capital; changes in wage inequality;

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References

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  1. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," NBER Working Papers 6146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1996. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," NBER Working Papers 5487, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," NBER Working Papers 8832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  5. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
  7. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2002. "Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training," CEP Discussion Papers dp0527, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," NBER Working Papers 8769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1996. "Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "Training and the new minimum wage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C87-C94, 03.
  11. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "A picture of European unemployment: success and failure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20039, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  13. repec:rus:hseeco:57408 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. repec:ese:iserwp:2003-05 is not listed on IDEAS
  15. Freeman, Richard & Schettkat, Ronald, 2001. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials, and Employment: Germany vs the US," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 582-603, July.
  16. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
  17. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  18. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 563-95, July.
  19. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
  20. Arulampalam, Wiji & Alison L Booth & Mark L Bryan, 2003. "Work-related Training and the New National Minimum Wage in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 9, Royal Economic Society.
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Cited by:
  1. Elisabetta Croci Angelini & Francesco Farina, 2007. "Technological choices under institutional constraints: measuring the impact on earnings dispersion," Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID) University of Siena 006, Department of Economic Policy, Finance and Development (DEPFID), University of Siena.
  2. Koeniger, Winfried & Leonardi, Marco, 2006. "Capital Deepening and Wage Differentials: Germany vs. US," IZA Discussion Papers 2065, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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