Wages & Benefits



In the United States, wages and benefits are determined by supply and demand factors within a context of legal restrictions and government regulations. Laws and regulations attempt to reduce wage inequality, maintain workplace standards, and eliminate discrimination against racial minorities, women, older workers, and workers with disabilities. Compensation can take many forms in addition to wages and salaries, and these different forms of compensation have implications for labor supply and employer costs. Understanding the costs and benefits of wage and benefit regulation is an important goal of economic analysis and research.


  • How have the tax system and federal and states regulations influenced compensation and employer costs?
  • What are the effects of minimum wage laws and living wage ordinances on the labor market?
  • What are the causes of increasing wage inequality, and how can it be reversed?

Selected Institute Research

Executive Compensation and Peer Benchmarking
Ron Laschever, University of Illinois
Upjohn Institute Mini Grant 10-122-02, 2010, forthcoming

What Does the Minimum Wage Do?
Dale Belman, Michigan State University
Paul Wolfson, Dartmouth College
Upjohn Institute Grant 08-114, 2008

Thinking about Local Living Wage Requirements
Timothy Bartik, Upjohn Institute
Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 02-76, March 2002

More Institute Research about Wages & Benefits