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Minimum Wages and Firm Training

  • Wolfgang Lechthaler
  • Dennis J. Snower

The paper analyzes the influence of minimum wages on firms’ incentive to train their employees. We show that this influence rests on two countervailing effects: minimum wages (i) augment wage compression and thereby raise firms’ incentives to train and (ii) reduce the profitability of employees, raise the firing rate and thereby reduce training. Our analysis shows that the relative strength of these two effects depends on the employees’ ability levels. Our striking result is that minimum wages give rise to skills inequality: a rise in the minimum wage leads to less training for low-ability workers and more training for those of higher ability. In short, minimum wages create a "low-skill trap."

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1298.

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Length: 21 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2006
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1298
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  1. Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "Minimum Wages and On-the-job Training," NBER Working Papers 7184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. David Neumark & William Wascher, 1998. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," NBER Working Papers 6651, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1998. "The Structure of Wages and Investment in General Training," CEPR Discussion Papers 1833, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. David Neumark & Mark Schweitzer & William Wascher, 2000. "The Effects of Minimum Wages Throughout the Wage Distribution," NBER Working Papers 7519, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Daron Acemoglu, 1997. "Training and Innovation in an Imperfect Labour Market," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(3), pages 445-464.
  6. Richard B. Freeman & Ronald Schettkat, 2000. "Low Wage Services: Interpreting the US - German Difference," NBER Working Papers 7611, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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