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Lohnspreizung und Effizienz

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  • Schlicht, Ekkehart

Abstract

Wage Dispersion and Efficiency. It is often assumed that markets generate efficient allocations, but these are not necessarily fair. The widening of wage differentials that is currently observed is interpreted in this manner: Skill-biased technological progress increases demand for skilled work and makes unskilled labor redundant. Increasing wage dispersion is seen as a market response to an increased scarcity of skilled workers. While wage differentials are widening, we observe at the same time increasing over-qualification in all segments of the labor market. This suggests an increasing abundance of skilled workers, rather than shortage. This paper suggest an explanation for the joint occurrence of wage dispersion and over-qualification. Wage dispersion is brought about by the wage-setting policies of firms that respond to an increased importance of skill differences among workers. The widening wage differentials render the acquisition of skills more rewarding. As a result, wage dispersion and over-qualification increase together. Both are inefficient. Policies that bring wage differentials closer to compensating differentials will increase both efficiency and fairness, quite in line with the classical position taken by Adam Smith on these issues.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Munich, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers in Economics with number 2117.

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Date of creation: 14 Feb 2008
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Handle: RePEc:lmu:muenec:2117

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Keywords: Wage structure; wage dispersion; wage compression; over-qualification; over-education; fairness; efficiency; wage competition; job competition; Reder competition; Adam Smith; Alfred Marshall; compensating differentials; job rents; skill-biased technological progess; heterogeneity-biased technological progress;

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References

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  1. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1981. "Training Costs and Wage Differentials in the Theory of Job Competition," Munich Reprints in Economics 1347, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  3. Gerlach, Knut & Stephan, Gesine, 2005. "Wage distributions by wage-setting regime," IAB Discussion Paper 200509, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
  4. Freeman, Richard B., 1998. "War of the models: Which labour market institutions for the 21st century?1," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 1-24, March.
  5. Michael Hoel, 1990. "Efficiency wages and income taxes," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 51(1), pages 89-99, February.
  6. Schlicht, Ekkehart, 1980. "Training Costs and Wage Differentials," Darmstadt Discussion Papers in Economics 35690, Darmstadt Technical University, Department of Business Administration, Economics and Law, Institute of Economics (VWL).
  7. Clemens Fuest & Bernd Huber, 1998. "Efficiency wages, employment, and the marginal income-tax rate: A note," Journal of Economics, Springer, vol. 68(1), pages 79-84, February.
  8. Harley Frazis & Mark A Loewenstein, 2006. "Wage Compression and the Division of Returns to Productivity Growth: Evidence from EOPP," Working Papers 398, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  9. Paul J. Devereux, 2004. "Cyclical Quality Adjustment in the Labor Market," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 600-615, January.
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