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Labor Market Institutions, Wages, and Investment

  • Jorn-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 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10735.

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Date of creation: Sep 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: published as "Labor Market Institutions, Wages, and Investment: Review and Implications," CESifo Economic Studies 51, 1/2005, 47-75
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10735
Note: LS
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  1. Francine D. Blau & Lawrence Kahn, 2004. "Do Cognitive Test Scores Explain Higher U.S. Wage Inequality?," CESifo Working Paper Series 1139, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. 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.
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  9. Acemoglu, Daron & Pischke, Jörn-Steffen, 1996. "Why do Firms Train? Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 1460, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Cross-Country Inequality Trends," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 113(485), pages F121-F149, February.
  11. Daron Acemoglu & Steve Pischke, 1999. "Minimum Wages and On-the-Job Training," Working papers 99-25, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. Alan B. Krueger & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1997. "Observations and Conjectures on the U.S. Employment Miracle," NBER Working Papers 6146, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Stephen Nickell, 2003. "A picture of European unemployment: success and failure," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20039, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  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.
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  19. repec:rus:hseeco:57408 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. 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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