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Trade liberalization and unemployment: Theory and evidence from India

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  • Hasan, Rana
  • Mitra, Devashish
  • Ranjan, Priya
  • Ahsan, Reshad N.

Abstract

A widely held view among the public is that trade liberalization increases unemployment. Using state and industry-level unemployment and trade protection data from India, we find no evidence of any unemployment increasing effect of trade reforms. In fact, our state-level analysis reveals that urban unemployment declines with trade liberalization in states with flexible labor markets and larger employment shares in net exporter industries. Moreover, our industry-level analysis indicates that workers in industries experiencing greater reductions in trade protection were less likely to become unemployed, especially in net export industries. Our results can be explained within a theoretical framework incorporating trade and search-generated unemployment and some institutional features of the Indian economy.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 97 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 ()
Pages: 269-280

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Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:2:p:269-280

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/devec

Related research

Keywords: Search unemployment; Protection; Trade reforms; Labor markets; India;

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References

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  1. Petia Topalova, 2005. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty And Inequality: Evidence From Indian Districts," Working Papers id:222, eSocialSciences.
  2. Aditya Bhattacharjea, 2006. "Labour Market Regulation and Industrial Performance in India--A Critical Review of the Empirical Evidence," Working papers 141, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
  3. Dutt, Pushan & Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2009. "International trade and unemployment: Theory and cross-national evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(1), pages 32-44, June.
  4. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
  5. Naércio Aquino Menezes Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1936, CESifo Group Munich.
  6. Guido G. Porto, 2008. "Agro-Manufactured Export Prices, Wages and Unemployment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(3), pages 748-764.
  7. Gupta, Poonam & Hasan, Rana & Kumar, Utsav, 2009. "Big Reforms but Small Payoffs: Explaining the Weak Record of Growth and Employment in Indian Manufacturing," MPRA Paper 13496, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  8. Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya, 2010. "Offshoring and unemployment: The role of search frictions labor mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(2), pages 219-229, July.
  9. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2004. "Can Labor Regulation Hinder Economic Performance? Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 91-134, February.
  10. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  11. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "Trade Reforms and Wage Inequality in Colombia," CEPR Discussion Papers 4023, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Rana Hasan & Devashish Mitra & K.V. Ramaswamy, 2003. "Trade Reforms, Labor Regulations and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from India," NBER Working Papers 9879, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Porto, Guido, 2008. "Agro-manufactured export prices, wages and unemployment," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4489, The World Bank.
  14. Shantayanan Devarajan & Dani Rodrik, 1989. "Pro-Competitive Effects of Trade Reform: Results from a CGE Model of Cameroon," NBER Working Papers 3176, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Petia Topalova, 2010. "Factor Immobility and Regional Impacts of Trade Liberalization Evidenceon Poverty From India," IMF Working Papers 10/218, International Monetary Fund.
  16. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  17. Carl Davidson & Steven Matusz, 2005. "Trade and Turnover: Theory and Evidence," International Trade 0503009, EconWPA.
  18. Porto, Guido G., 2008. "AJAE Appendix: Agro-Manufactured Export Prices, Wages and Unemployment," American Journal of Agricultural Economics Appendices, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 90(3), August.
  19. Kaivan Munshi & Mark Rosenzweig, 2009. "Why is Mobility in India so Low? Social Insurance, Inequality, and Growth," NBER Working Papers 14850, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "Trade, Wages and the Political Economy of Trade Protection: Evidence from the Colombian Trade Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Freund, Caroline & Pierola, Martha Denisse, 2010. "Export entrepreneurs : evidence from Peru," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5407, The World Bank.
  22. Carl Davidson & Steven J. Matusz, 2004. "International Trade and Labor Markets: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number itlm.
  23. Christopher A. Pissarides, 2000. "Equilibrium Unemployment Theory, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262161877, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2011. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," NBER Working Papers 17372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Halit Yanikkaya, 2013. "Is trade liberalization a solution to the unemployment problem?," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer, vol. 12(1), pages 57-85, April.
  3. Emanuel Ornelas, 2012. "Preferential Trade Agreements and the Labor Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp1117, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  4. Wolf-Heimo Grieben & Fuat Sener, 2012. "North-South Trade, Unemployment and Growth: What’s the Role of Labor Unions?," Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz 2012-06, Department of Economics, University of Konstanz.
  5. Ferdinando Monte, 2014. "Local Transmission of Trade Shocks," Working Papers 2014-001, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  6. Beyza Ural Marchand & Ray Rees & Raymond Riezman, 2011. "Globalization, Gender and Development: The Effect of Parental Labor Supply on Child Schooling," CESifo Working Paper Series 3341, CESifo Group Munich.

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