Date of Award:

8-2018

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Economics and Finance

Committee

Briggs Depew

Abstract

Government mandates are often used to promote equality in the workplace, often imposing additional costs upon employers. Economic theory suggest that these additional costs will be shifted onto the employees through a reduction in wages. However, when wage shifting is not an option due to anti-discrimination laws, how will employers respond to the additional costs imposed? Gruber (1994) found that wage shifting occurs when the groups benefiting from a government mandate are easily identifiable to the employer, despite the existence of anti-discrimination laws.

This study seeks to further the work of Gruber (1994) and examine wage shifting at an industry level. We look at industries that have a large percentage of workers who are benefited by a government mandate to see if the wage shifting in these industries was more significant. This study finds that, as the percentage of workforce receiving benefits increases, the amount of wage shifting grows.

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