The effects of prevailing wage laws: A comparison of individual workers' wages earned on and off prevailing wage construction projects

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Abstract

I evaluate the effects of prevailing wage laws using a unique data set that shows the wages paid to workers on prevailing wage projects and the wages paid to the same workers during the same time period for work on projects not covered by prevailing wage regulations. The wage comparison shows that workers are generally paid more for work on prevailing wage projects than they are for work on non-prevailing wage projects. Thus, prevailing wage laws likely do increase the cost of public construction. In addition, to the extent that the quality of construction is improved, prevailing wage laws appear to be an inefficient mechanism by which to achieve additional quality, as the regulations often result in workers being paid more than they earn in the private market.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)725-737
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Labor Research
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management
  • Management of Technology and Innovation

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