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Studying Labor Market Institutions in the Lab: Minimum Wages, Employment Protection and Workfare

Author

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  • Falk, Armin

    () (briq, University of Bonn)

  • Huffman, David B.

    () (University of Pittsburgh)

Abstract

A central concern in economics is to understand the interplay between institutions and labor markets. In this paper we argue that laboratory experiments are a powerful tool for studying labor market institutions. One of the most important advantages is the ability to implement truly exogenous institutional change, in order to make clear causal inferences. We exemplify the usefulness of lab experiments by surveying evidence from three studies, each of which investigates a different, crucial labor market institution: minimum wage laws, employment protection legislation and workfare.

Suggested Citation

  • Falk, Armin & Huffman, David B., 2006. "Studying Labor Market Institutions in the Lab: Minimum Wages, Employment Protection and Workfare," IZA Discussion Papers 2310, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp2310
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Blount, Sally, 1995. "When Social Outcomes Aren't Fair: The Effect of Causal Attributions on Preferences," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 63(2), pages 131-144, August.
    2. Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1992. "The Effect of the Minimum Wage on the Fast-Food Industry," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 46(1), pages 6-21, October.
    3. Card, David & Krueger, Alan B, 1994. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 772-793, September.
    4. Martin Brown & Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr, 2004. "Relational Contracts and the Nature of Market Interactions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(3), pages 747-780, May.
    5. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
    6. Besley, Timothy & Case, Anne, 2000. "Unnatural Experiments? Estimating the Incidence of Endogenous Policies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(467), pages 672-694, November.
    7. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Christian Zehnder, "undated". "The Behavioral Effects of Minimum Wages," IEW - Working Papers 247, Institute for Empirical Research in Economics - University of Zurich.
    8. Stephen Nickell, 1997. "Unemployment and Labor Market Rigidities: Europe versus North America," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 55-74, Summer.
    9. Katz, L.F. & Krueger, A.B, 1991. "The Effect Of The New Minimum Wage Law In A Low-Wage Labor Market," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1544, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
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    12. Jordi Brandts & Gary Charness, 2004. "Do Labour Market Conditions Affect Gift Exchange? Some Experimental Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 114(497), pages 684-708, July.
    13. Armin Falk & Ernst Fehr & Urs Fischbacher, 2003. "On the Nature of Fair Behavior," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 41(1), pages 20-26, January.
    14. William Wascher & David Neumark, 2000. "Minimum Wages and Employment: A Case Study of the Fast-Food Industry in New Jersey and Pennsylvania: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1362-1396, December.
    15. W. Bentley MacLeod, 2005. "Regulation or Markets? The Case of Employment Contracts," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 51(1), pages 1-46.
    16. Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1991. "The Effect of the New Minimum Wage Law in a Low-Wage Labor Market," Working Papers 660, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    Cited by:

    1. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-Gonzalez & Stephen Rassenti, 2013. "Firing Threats and Tenure: Incentive effects and impression management," Working Papers 13-15, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    2. Christoph Engel & Urs Schweizer, 2007. "Editorial Preface," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(1), pages 1-4, March.
    3. Corgnet, Brice & Hernán-González, Roberto & Rassenti, Stephen, 2015. "Firing threats: Incentive effects and impression management," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 97-113.
    4. Christoph Engel, 2007. "The Cognitive Effect of a Minimum Wage. Comment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(1), pages 52-55, March.
    5. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Stephen Rassenti, 2011. "Real Effort, Real Leisure and Real-time Supervision: Incentives and Peer Pressure in Virtual Organizations," Working Papers 11-05, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.
    6. Brice Corgnet & Joaquín Gómez-Miñambres & Roberto Hernán-González, 2015. "Goal Setting and Monetary Incentives: When Large Stakes Are Not Enough," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(12), pages 2926-2944, December.
    7. Peichl, Andreas & Siegloch, Sebastian, 2012. "Accounting for labor demand effects in structural labor supply models," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(1), pages 129-138.
    8. John J. Donohue III, 2007. "Studying Labor Market Institutions in the Lab: Minimum Wages, Employment Protection, and Workfare. Comment," Journal of Institutional and Theoretical Economics (JITE), Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 163(1), pages 46-51, March.
    9. Schneider, Hilmar & Uhlendorff, Arne & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2010. "Mit Workfare aus der Sozialhilfe? Lehren aus einem Modellprojekt," IZA Standpunkte 33, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    10. Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & Eric Schniter, 2015. "Why real leisure really matters: incentive effects on real effort in the laboratory," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 18(2), pages 284-301, June.
    11. Oren Bar-Gill & Christoph Engel, 2016. "Bargaining in the Absence of Property Rights: An Experiment," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(2), pages 477-495.
    12. Jordi Brandts & Brice Corgnet & Roberto Hernán-González & José M. Ortiz & Carles Solà, 2018. "A ‘threat’ is a ‘Threat’: Incentive Effects of Firing Threats with Varying Degrees of Performance Information," Working Papers 1023, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    employment protection legislation; laboratory experiments; minimum wages; workfare;

    JEL classification:

    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs

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