Metropolitan Wage Levels of Less-Educated Workers: 1986 to 1999

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Abstract

This work investigates determinants of metropolitan wage levels for workers with a high school education or less. It estimates their wage levels as a function of four factors: labor demand, industry mix, unionization, and the minimum wage. Labor demand and union strength influence wage levels most. The minimum wage and industry mix play smaller roles, although the minimum wage is the second most influential factor for men and women who did not complete high school. From 1990 to 1999, metropolitan wage levels exhibit considerable persistence, though persistence declines over this period.

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