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Are Workers Paid their Marginal Product? Evidence from a Low Wage Labour Market

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  • Stephen Machin
  • Alan Manning
  • S Woodland

Abstract

Because of labour market frictions, the supply of labour to a firm does not fall instantaneously to zero if an employer cuts wages. This gives employers some monopsony power. In the absence of trade unions, minimum wages and efficiency wage considerations a profit-maximising employer will set a wage below the marginal revenue product of labour so that workers are, to use the terminology of Hicks and Pigou, exploited. This paper presents a method for computing the rate of exploitation. This method is then applied to a unique data set on workers in residential homes for the elderly on England's sunshine coast. We conclude that, on average, firms pay workers about 15% less than their marginal product.

Suggested Citation

  • Stephen Machin & Alan Manning & S Woodland, 1993. "Are Workers Paid their Marginal Product? Evidence from a Low Wage Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0158, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp0158
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 2002. "The structure of wages in what should be a competitive labour market," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20080, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan & Rahman, Lupin, 2002. "Where the minimum wage bites hard: the introduction of the UK national minimum wage to a low wage sector," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20070, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Richard Dickens & Stephen Machin & Alan Manning, 1994. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from the US," NBER Working Papers 4742, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Ahlfeldt, Gabriel M. & Roth, Duncan & Seidel, Tobias, 2018. "The regional effects of Germany’s national minimum wage," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 172(C), pages 127-130.
    5. Margarita Katsimi & Sarantis Kalyvitis & Thomas Moutos, 2009. ""Unwarranted" Wage Changes and the Return on Capital," CESifo Working Paper Series 2804, CESifo.
    6. Dickens, Richard & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1999. "The Effects of Minimum Wages on Employment: Theory and Evidence from Britain," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 17(1), pages 1-22, January.
    7. Gabriel Ahlfeldt & Duncan Roth & Tobias Seidel, 2018. "The Regional Effects of a National Minimum Wage," CESifo Working Paper Series 6924, CESifo.
    8. Duncan Watson, 2000. "UK wage underpayment: implications for the minimum wage," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 429-440.

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