Journal of Labor Research

, Volume 26, Issue 4, pp 725–737

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

  • Mike Clark

DOI: 10.1007/s12122-005-1008-2

Cite this article as:
Clark, M. J Labor Res (2005) 26: 725. doi:10.1007/s12122-005-1008-2


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 nonprevailing 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.

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mike Clark
    • 1
  1. 1.Kentucky Legislative Research CommissionFrankfort

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