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Wage Differentiation via Subsidised General Training

  • V. Bhaskar


  • Steinar Holden


We provide a new explanation for why firms pay for general training in a competitive labor market. If firms for informational or institutional reasons are unable to tailor wages according to ability, they will have an incentive to pay for general training in order to attract better quality workers. Under fairly weak conditions, we show that labor market equilibrium must involve subsidised general training. This does not require that firms capture a return in the form of a productivity rise induced by training that exceeds the wage rise. The market provision of training may well exceed the socially optimal level.

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Paper provided by University of Essex, Department of Economics in its series Economics Discussion Papers with number 549.

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Date of creation: 06 Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:esx:essedp:549
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  1. Anke S. Kessler & Christoph Lülfesmann, 2002. "The Theory of Human Capital Revisited: On the Interaction of General and Specific Investments," CESifo Working Paper Series 776, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
  3. Acemoglu, D. & Pischki, J.S., 1996. "Why Do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," Working papers 96-7, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
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  5. Malcomson, James M. & Maw, James W. & McCormick, Barry, 2003. "General training by firms, apprentice contracts, and public policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 197-227, April.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Katz, Eliakim & Ziderman, Adrian, 1990. "Investment in General Training: The Role of Information and Labour Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(403), pages 1147-58, December.
  9. Fehr, Ernst & Schmidt, Klaus M., 1999. "A theory of fairness, competition, and cooperation," Munich Reprints in Economics 20650, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  10. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence M. Kahn, 1994. "International Differences in Male Wage Inequality: Institutions versus Market Forces," NBER Working Papers 4678, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Malcomson, James M, 1984. "Work Incentives, Hierarchy, and Internal Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 486-507, June.
  12. Axel Ockenfels & Gary E. Bolton, 2000. "ERC: A Theory of Equity, Reciprocity, and Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(1), pages 166-193, March.
  13. Stephen French & Katsuyuki Kubo & David Marsden, 2001. "Does performance pay de-motivate, and does it matter?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3637, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  14. Peter Cappelli, 2002. "Why Do Employers Pay For College?," NBER Working Papers 9225, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. David H. Autor, 2001. "Why Do Temporary Help Firms Provide Free General Skills Training?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(4), pages 1409-1448, November.
  16. Stevens, Margaret, 1994. "A Theoretical Model of On-the-Job Training with Imperfect Competition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 46(4), pages 537-62, October.
  17. 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.
  18. Gregory, Robert G. & Borland, Jeff, 1999. "Recent developments in public sector labor markets," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 53, pages 3573-3630 Elsevier.
  19. Giorgio Brunello, 2002. "Is Training more Frequent when Wage Compression is Higher? Evidence from 11 European Countries," CESifo Working Paper Series 637, CESifo Group Munich.
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