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An amount of money paid each hour to compensate an employee for the amount of time he/she spends working. Wages are paid for both skilled and unskilled labor. For example, one may pay an employee $8 per hour for working at a fast food restaurant or $45 per hour for highly trained work at a car factory. What distinguishes wages from salaries is the fact that wages are only paid for the hours worked; an employee is paid more if he works for more hours. Salaries, on the other hand, are the same whether one works five hours or 50. See also: Overtime, Minimum Wage.


the money payment made to a worker, usually on a weekly basis, for the use of his or her labour. A worker's basic wage will depend on the hourly WAGE RATE and the number of hours worked. The latter is usually related to the number of hours specified as constituting the ‘basic'working week, but in some cases workers may be given a GUARANTEED BASIC WAGE to protect them against loss of earnings due to short-time working, and in other cases workers may be able to add to their basic wage by OVERTIME earnings. In addition to PAYMENT BY TIME, workers may be paid in proportion to their output under a PAYMENT BY RESULTS scheme. See PAY, MEASURED DAY WORK.


the PAY made to an employee for the use of his or her LABOUR as a FACTOR OF PRODUCTION. Wages are usually paid on a weekly basis, and they depend on the hourly WAGE RATE and the number of hours that constitute the basic working week. In addition, employees can add to their basic wage by working OVERTIME.

As an alternative to workers being paid on the basis of hours worked (a ‘payment by time’ system), employees may be paid in proportion to their output (a ‘payment by results’ system).

In aggregate terms, wages are a source of income and are included as a part of NATIONAL INCOME. See SALARY, NATIONAL INCOME ACCOUNTS.

References in periodicals archive ?
Lapides's argues that Marx's wage theory develops gradually and only really reaches its full and complete form in Marx's mature writings, of which Capital is the best example.
As a result, the efficiency wage rate does not vary over the business cycle under Solow's efficiency wage theory.
This article follows the efficiency wage theory, and seeks to explain substance abuse in the workplace using two key explanatory variables: the industry wage premium and the level of unemployment.
Nor does the efficiency wage theory explain why the average duration of unemployment in Europe has significantly exceeded that in the US and Japan since the mid-1970s, why labour and product market activities tend to move together in the US but not in Europe, or why unemployment in many countries varies less within a business cycle than from one cycle to the next.
Wage Change and the Quit Behavior of Workers: Implications for Efficiency Wage Theory.
More generally, efficiency wage theory said that it paid firms to pay a higher wage than necessary to obtain workers; but the level of the efficiency wage could vary across firms; for instance, firms with higher turnover costs, or where worker inefficiency could lead to large losses of capital, or where monitoring was more difficult, might find it desirable to pay higher wages.
A recent version of efficiency wage theory, the "fair wage-effort hypothesis" (Akerlof and Yellen 1990), contends that workers will withhold effort if they are paid a wage below what they consider to be fair.
Elsewhere, I have examined the important links between 'first-generation' neoclassical wage theory and Pigou's treatment of exploitation, focussing on the links between Pigou's theory of exploitation and Marshall's fair wages analysis; see Flatau (1997).
The basic tenet of the efficiency wage theory is that the effort or productivity of a worker is positively related to his real wage and firms have the market power to set the wage.
In Section II, the theoretical framework which incorporates the essential features of the efficiency wage theory is developed.
Efficiency wage theory entails several assumptions.
The efficiency wage theory provides an alternative model for labour markets which seems to be more compatible with the observations described above.