Unemployment Risk and Compensating Differentials in New Jersey Manufacturing
We present evidence that low-skill workers received larger compensating differentials than more skilled workers when facing unanticipated unemployment in an era without unemployment insurance. Using information from surveys of New Jersey workers conducted during the 1880s, we test the theory of compensating wage differentials. We find that workers who faced a higher probability of predictable unemployment received compensating differentials and that the size of the differential differed across industries and skill levels. With few firm- or industry-specific skills, unskilled workers were less subject to "informational capture" than skilled workers who had more but less easily transferable human capital. (JEL N31) Copyright 2005, Oxford University Press.
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Volume (Year): 43 (2005)
Issue (Month): 4 (October)
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