NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Effect of Minimum Wages on Human Capital Formation

Jacob Mincer, Linda S. Leighton

NBER Working Paper No. 441
Issued in February 1980
NBER Program(s):   PR

The hypothesis that minimum wages tend to discourage on the job training is largely supported by our empirical analysis. Direct effects on reported job training and corollary effects on wage growth as estimated in microdata of the National Longitudinal Samples (NLS) and Michigan Income Dynamics (MID) are consistently negative and stronger at lower education levels. Apart from a single exception, no effects are observable among the higher wage group whose education exceeds high school. The effects on job turnover are: a decrease in turnover among young NLS whites, but an increase among young NLS blacks and MID whites. Whether these apparently conflicting findings on turnover reflect a distinction between short and long run adjustments in jobs is a question that requires further testing.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w0441

Published: Mincer, Jacob and Leighton, Linda. "Effect of Minimum Wages on Human Capital Formation." The Economy of Legal Minimum Wages, edited by S. Rottenberg. Washington, D.C.: American Enterprise Institute, 1981.

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