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Minimum Wages and On-the-job Training

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Jorn-Steffen 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 labor 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 constrained 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 of 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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 7184.

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Date of creation: Jun 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7184

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  1. 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.
  2. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  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. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1982. "Minimum Wage Effects on Training on the Job," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1070-87, December.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1998. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," NBER Working Papers 6651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. repec:fth:prinin:300 is not listed on IDEAS
  12. 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.
  13. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, October.
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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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