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Labor market institutions, wages and investment

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  • Jorn-Steffen Pischke
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    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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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/19938/
    File Function: Open access version.
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library in its series LSE Research Online Documents on Economics with number 19938.

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    Length: 36 pages
    Date of creation: Sep 2004
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:19938

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    Related research

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

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    1. 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.
    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. 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.
    4. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Christian Dustmann & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Training and Union Wages," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 91(2), pages 363-376, May.
    6. 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.
    7. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," NBER Working Papers 6357, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. 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.
    9. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2001. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher US Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 8210, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. 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.
    11. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F121-F149, February.
    12. 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.
    13. 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.
    14. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
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