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Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Steve Pischke

Abstract

Becker's theory of human capital predicts that minimum wages should reduce training investments for affected workers, because they prevent these workers from taking wage cuts necessary to finance training. We show that when the assumption of perfectly competitive labour markets underlying this theory is relaxed, minimum wages can increase training of affected workers, by inducing firms to train their unskilled employees. More generally, a minimum wage increases training for con-strained workers, while reducing it for those taking wage cuts to finance their training. We provide new estimates on the impact of the state and federal increases in the minimum wage between 1987 and 1992 on the training of low wage workers. We find no evidence that minimum wages reduce training. These results are consistent with our model, but difficult to reconcile with the standard theory of human capital.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics in its series Working papers with number 99-25.

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Date of creation: Oct 1999
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Handle: RePEc:mit:worpap:99-25

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Postal: MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (MIT), DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMICS, 50 MEMORIAL DRIVE CAMBRIDGE MASSACHUSETTS 02142 USA
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References

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  1. Mark A. Loewenstein & James R. Spletzer, 1999. "General and Specific Training: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 710-733.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-44, September.
  5. David Card, 1992. "Using regional variation in wages to measure the effects of the federal minimum wage," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages F112-42, February.
  7. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1982. "Minimum Wage Effects on Training on the Job," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1070-87, December.
  8. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters, in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, octubre-d.
  10. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  11. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:403-438 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
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  1. The Minimum Wage: Some Aircover for Gene Sperling...
    by Brad DeLong in Grasping Reality with the Invisible Hand on 2006-06-22 17:14:58
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