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Labor Market Institutions, Wages and Investment

  • Joern-Steffen Pischke

Labor market institutions, via their effect on the wage structure, affect the investment decisions of firms in labor markets with frictions. This observation helps explain rising wage inequality in the US, but a relatively stable wage structure in Europe in the 1980s. These different trends are the result of different investment decisions by firms for the jobs typically held by less-skilled workers. Firms in Europe have more incentives to invest in less-skilled workers, because minimum wages or union contracts mandate that relatively high wages have to be paid to these workers. I report some empirical evidence for investments in training and physical capital across the Atlantic, which is roughly in line with this theoretical reasoning.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 1278.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1278
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  1. David Card & Francis Kramarz & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Changes in the Relative Structure of Wages and Employment: A Comparison of the United States, Canada, and France," Working Papers 734, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  2. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2002. "Skill-Biased Technological Change and Rising Wage Inequality: Some Problems and Puzzles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 20(4), pages 733-783, October.
  3. Acemoglu, D. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," Working papers 97-24, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  4. Daron Acemoglu & Joern-Steffen Pischke, 1998. "Beyond Becker: Training in Imperfect Labor Markets," Working papers 98-12, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "A Picture of European Unemployment: Success and Failure," CEP Discussion Papers dp0577, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  8. Arulampalam, Wiji & Alison L Booth & Mark L Bryan, 2003. "Work-related Training and the New National Minimum Wage in Britain," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 9, Royal Economic Society.
  9. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 5605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Arulampalam, Wiji & Booth, Alison L. & Bryan, Mark L., 2003. "Work-related training and the new National Minimum Wage in Britain -ISER Working Paper-," ISER Working Paper Series 2003-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
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  12. Freeman, Richard & Schettkat, Ronald, 2001. "Skill Compression, Wage Differentials, and Employment: Germany vs the US," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 582-603, July.
  13. Daron Acemoglu & Jörn-Steffen Pischke, 2002. "Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training," CEP Discussion Papers dp0527, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  14. Dustmann, Christian & Schönberg, Uta, 2004. "Training and Union Wages," IZA Discussion Papers 1435, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
  16. Krueger, A. & Pischke, J.S., 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," Working papers 97-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  17. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  18. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 2005. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(1), pages 184-193, February.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," NBER Working Papers 8832, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Wiji Arulampalam & Alison L. Booth & Mark L. Bryan, 2004. "Training and the new minimum wage," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(494), pages C87-C94, 03.
  21. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1996. "Changes in the Distribution of Wages and Unemployment in OECD Countries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 302-08, May.
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