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Minimum Wages and On-the-job Training

Author

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  • Daron Acemoglu
  • Jorn-Steffen Pischke

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 labor 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 constrained 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 of 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

  • Daron Acemoglu & Jorn-Steffen Pischke, 1999. "Minimum Wages and On-the-job Training," NBER Working Papers 7184, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7184 Note: LS
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. DiNardo, John & Fortin, Nicole M & Lemieux, Thomas, 1996. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(5), pages 1001-1044, September.
    2. 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.
    3. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Introduction to "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings"," NBER Chapters,in: Schooling, Experience, and Earnings, pages 1-4 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. Neumark, David & Wascher, William, 2001. "Minimum Wages and Training Revisited," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(3), pages 563-595, July.
    8. Adam J. Grossberg & Paul Sicilian, 1999. "Minimum Wages, On-the-Job Training, and Wage Growth," Southern Economic Journal, Southern Economic Association, vol. 65(3), pages 539-556, January.
    9. Jacob A. Mincer, 1974. "Schooling, Experience, and Earnings," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number minc74-1, January.
    10. Moulton, Brent R., 1986. "Random group effects and the precision of regression estimates," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 385-397, August.
    11. Mark A. Loewenstein & James R. Spletzer, 1999. "General and Specific Training: Evidence and Implications," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 34(4), pages 710-733.
    12. David Card, 1992. "Using Regional Variation in Wages to Measure the Effects of the Federal Minimum Wage," Working Papers 680, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
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    14. repec:bin:bpeajo:v:20:y:1989:i:1989-3:p:209-290 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. David S. Lee, 1999. "Wage Inequality in the United States During the 1980s: Rising Dispersion or Falling Minimum Wage?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(3), pages 977-1023.
    16. Sherwin Rosen, 1972. "Learning and Experience in the Labor Market," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 7(3), pages 326-342.
    17. Hashimoto, Masanori, 1982. "Minimum Wage Effects on Training on the Job," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(5), pages 1070-1087, December.
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    More about this item

    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

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