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Is wage compression a necessary condition for firm-financed general training?

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Listed:
  • Alison L. Booth
  • Gylfi Zoega

Abstract

In recent contributions, Acemoglu and Pischke argue that wage compression induces firms to invest in general training. However, they consider only absolute wage compression. We extend their approach to consider relative wage compression and argue that wage compression as generally understood in the literature is of the latter type. We show that factors associated with an increase in the absolute difference between output and wages might have no effect on the ratio of output and wages (e.g., if the output and wage of every worker doubles, there is absolute wage compression but not relative wage compression). Importantly, we show that, although relative wage compression is not a necessary condition for firms' willingness to pay for general training, it does increase firms' incentives to pay for workers' general training. We show that the departure from the competitive framework highlighted in Acemoglu and Pischke is much more general than implied by their analysis. Copyright 2004, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Alison L. Booth & Gylfi Zoega, 2004. "Is wage compression a necessary condition for firm-financed general training?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(1), pages 88-97, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:oxecpp:v:56:y:2004:i:1:p:88-97
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 539-572, June.
    2. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jorn-Steffen, 1999. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labour Markets," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 109(453), pages 112-142, February.
    3. repec:eme:rlepps:v:18:y:1999:i:1999:p:303-330 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michael Gerfin, 2003. "Work-Related Training and Wages: An empirical analysis for male workers in Switzerland," Diskussionsschriften dp0316, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    2. Booth, Alison L., 2014. "Wage determination and imperfect competition," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(C), pages 53-58.
    3. Chen, Yu-Fu & Zoega, Gylfi, 2010. "Life-Cycle, Effort and Academic Deadwood," SIRE Discussion Papers 2010-28, Scottish Institute for Research in Economics (SIRE).
    4. Barry T. Hirsch & Bruce E. Kaufman & Tetyana Zelenska, 2015. "Minimum Wage Channels of Adjustment," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(2), pages 199-239, April.
    5. Mason, Geoff & O'Leary, Brigid & Vecchi, Michela, 2012. "Certified and uncertified skills and productivity growth performance: Cross-country evidence at industry level," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 351-360.
    6. 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.
    7. Derek C. Jones & Panu Kalmi & Antti Kauhanen, 2012. "The effects of general and firm-specific training on wages and performance: evidence from banking," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(1), pages 151-175, January.
    8. Hinz, Tina & Mohrenweiser, Jens, 2017. "The Effect of Regional Competition and Company-sponsored Training on the Productivity-Wage Wedge," Annual Conference 2017 (Vienna): Alternative Structures for Money and Banking 168292, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Zoega, Gylfi & Karlsson, Thorlakur, 2006. "Does wage compression explain rigid money wages?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 93(1), pages 111-115, October.
    10. Simone Tuor & Uschi Backes-Gellner, 2009. "Time - Even More Costly Than Money: Training Costs of Workers and Firms," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0046, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW).
    11. Gerfin, Michael, 2004. "Firm-Sponsored General Training in Frictional Labour Markets: An Empirical Analysis for Switzerland," IZA Discussion Papers 1077, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Bassanini, Andrea & Brunello, Giorgio, 2008. "Is training more frequent when the wage premium is smaller? Evidence from the European Community Household Panel," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 272-290, April.
    13. Filipe Almeida-Santos & Karen Mumford, 2005. "Employee Training And Wage Compression In Britain," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 73(3), pages 321-342, June.
    14. Bassanini, Andrea & Booth, Alison L. & Brunello, Giorgio & De Paola, Maria & Leuven, Edwin, 2005. "Workplace Training in Europe," IZA Discussion Papers 1640, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    15. Alison Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2006. "Training, Minimum Wages and the Earnings Distribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 537, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    16. Cardoso, Ana Rute, 2009. "Long-Term Impact of Youth Minimum Wages: Evidence from Two Decades of Individual Longitudinal Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4236, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    17. Bilanakos, Christos, 2013. "Career concerns and firm – sponsored general training," Research in Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(2), pages 117-132.
    18. Jens Mohrenweiser & Gabriele Wydra-Somaggio & Thomas Zwick, 2017. "Information Advantages of Training Employers Despite Credible Training Certificates," Economics of Education Working Paper Series 0121, University of Zurich, Department of Business Administration (IBW), revised Apr 2017.
    19. Asplund, Rita, 2004. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training. A brief review of the literature," Discussion Papers 907, The Research Institute of the Finnish Economy.
    20. Thomas Zwick, 2007. "Apprenticeship Training in Germany? Investment or Productivity Driven?," ZEW Discussion Papers 07-023, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    21. Garloff Alfred & Kuckulenz Anja, 2006. "Training, Mobility, and Wages: Specific Versus General Human Capital," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 226(1), pages 55-81, February.
    22. Alison L. Booth & Pamela Katic, 2011. "Men at Work in a Land Down‐Under: Testing Some Predictions of Human Capital Theory," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 49(1), pages 1-24, March.
    23. Michael Gerfin, 2003. "Firm-sponsored Work-Related Training in Frictional Labour Markets: An empirical analysis for Switzerland," Diskussionsschriften dp0317, Universitaet Bern, Departement Volkswirtschaft.
    24. Rita Asplund, 2005. "The Provision and Effects of Company Training: A Brief Review of the Literature," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 31, pages 47-73.
    25. Nikutowski, Oliver, 2007. "Accelerated Technological Progress - An Explanation for Wage Dispersion and a Possible Solution to the Productivity Paradox," Discussion Papers in Economics 1925, University of Munich, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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