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Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training

Author

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  • Acemoglu, Daron
  • Pischke, Jörn-Steffen

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 labour 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 con-strained 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 on 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.

Suggested Citation

  • Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1999. "Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 2177, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2177
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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.
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    6. 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.
    7. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 22-37, October.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Firm-Sponsored Training; General Human Capital; Imperfect Labour Markets; Low Wage Workers;
    All these keywords.

    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
    • J41 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Labor Contracts
    • O0 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - General

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