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International Welfare And Employment Linkages Arising From Minimum Wages

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  • Hartmut Egger
  • Peter Egger
  • James R. Markusen

Abstract

We formulate a two-country model with monopolistic competition and heterogeneous firms to reconsider labor market linkages in open economies. Labor-market imperfections arise by virtue of country-specific real minimum wages. Two principal experiments are considered. First, we show that trade liberalization under minimum wages differs significantly from trade liberalization under standard assumptions. In the former case, there is effectively a perfectly elastic supply of labor to production whereas in the conventional case it is assumed that aggregate labor supply is perfectly inelastic. Standard effects on marginal and average firm productivity are reversed in our model, yet there are significant gains from trade arising from employment expansion, an effect quite different from the source of gains from trade in the conventional approach. Second, we show that with firm heterogeneity an increase in one country's minimum wage triggers firm exit in both countries and thus harms workers at home and abroad. In an extension to our baseline model, we illustrate that offshoring production from the high-wage to the low-wage country within multinational firms lowers the scope for exporting the costs of a higher minimum wage to the trading partner.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association in its journal International Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 53 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (08)
Pages: 771-790

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Handle: RePEc:wly:iecrev:v:53:y:2012:i:3:p:771-790

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  1. Kreickemeier, Udo & Nelson, Douglas, 2006. "Fair wages, unemployment and technological change in a global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 451-469, December.
  2. Bernard, Andrew B. & Bradford Jensen, J., 1999. "Exceptional exporter performance: cause, effect, or both?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 1-25, February.
  3. Del Gatto, Massimo & Mion, Giordano & Ottaviano, Gianmarco Ireo Paolo, 2006. "Trade Integration, Firm Selection and the Costs of Non-Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 5730, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Ethier, Wilfred J, 1982. "National and International Returns to Scale in the Modern Theory of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 72(3), pages 389-405, June.
  5. Andrei A. Levchenko & Quý Toà n Ão, 2006. "Trade, Inequality, and the Political Economy of Institutions," IMF Working Papers 06/56, International Monetary Fund.
  6. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, December.
  7. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
  8. Davis, Donald R. & Harrigan, James, 2011. "Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 26-36, May.
  9. Skaksen, Mette Yde & Sorensen, Jan Rose, 2001. "Should trade unions appreciate foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 379-390, December.
  10. Kjell Erik Lommerud & Frode Meland & Lars Sørgard, 2002. "Unionized Oligopoly, Trade Liberalization and Location Choice," CESifo Working Paper Series 777, CESifo Group Munich.
  11. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  12. Jens Suedekum, 2003. "Increasing Returns and Spatial Unemployment Disparities," ERSA conference papers ersa03p44, European Regional Science Association.
  13. Eckel, Carsten & Egger, Hartmut, 2009. "Wage bargaining and multinational firms," Munich Reprints in Economics 20528, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  14. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2008. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 14478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Eleonora Patacchini & Yves Zenou, 2007. "Spatial dependence in local unemployment rates," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 7(2), pages 169-191, March.
  16. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
  17. Markusen, James R, 1989. "Trade in Producer Services and in Other Specialized Intermediate Inputs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 85-95, March.
  18. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 92(3), pages 451-71, June.
  19. Richard Baldwin, 2005. "Heterogeneous Firms and Trade: Testable and Untestable Properties of the Melitz Model," NBER Working Papers 11471, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2009. "Firm Heterogeneity And The Labor Market Effects Of Trade Liberalization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 187-216, 02.
  21. Paul Krugman, 1994. "Past and prospective causes of high unemployment," Proceedings - Economic Policy Symposium - Jackson Hole, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Jan, pages 49-98.
  22. Brecher, Richard A, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Benedikt Heid & Mario Larch, 2012. "International Trade and Unemployment: A Quantitative Framework," CESifo Working Paper Series 4013, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Lommerud, Kjell Erik & Meland, Frode & Straume, Odd Rune, 2012. "North–South technology transfer in unionised multinationals," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 385-395.
  3. Hartmut Egger & Daniel Etzel, 2010. "The Impact of Trade on Employment, Welfare, and Income Distribution in Unionized General Oligopolistic Equilibrium," Working Papers 088, Bavarian Graduate Program in Economics (BGPE).
  4. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Larch, Mario & Lechthaler, Wolfgang, 2012. "Endogenous labor market institutions in an open economy," Munich Reprints in Economics 20600, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  5. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Janeba, Eckhard & Görg, Holger & Belke, Ansgar & Pflüger, Michael & Ebner, Stefan, 2010. "Schadet Deutschlands Exportpolitik den Nachbarn?," Munich Reprints in Economics 20581, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  6. Hartmut, Egger & Meland, Frode, 2011. "Product and Labor Market Deregulation in Unionized Oligopoly with Asymmetric Countries," Working Papers in Economics 11/11, University of Bergen, Department of Economics.
  7. Ma, Shuang & Sun, Churen & Tian, Guoqiang, 2011. "Minimum wage and export: evidence from Chinese firm-level data," MPRA Paper 35098, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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