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Can Interindustry Wage Differentials Justify Strategic Trade Policy?

In: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness

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  • Lawrence F. Katz
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between labor market imperfections and trade policies. The available evidence suggests that pervasive industry wage differentials of up to 20 percent remain even after controlling for differences in observed measures of workers' skill and the effects of unions. Theoretical analysis indicates that given non-competitive wage differentials of this magnitude policies directed at encouraging employment in high-wage sectors could significantly enhance allocative efficiency. For the United States and other developed countries, such policies are more likely to involve export promotion than import substitution. Increased international trade flows (at least through 1984) have been associated with increased employment in high-wage U.S. manufacturing industries relative to low-wage U.S. manufacturing industries.

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This chapter was published in:

  • Robert C. Feenstra, 1989. "Trade Policies for International Competitiveness," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number feen89-1, May.
    This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 6177.

    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6177

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    References

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    1. Harry Holzer & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1988. "Job Queues and Wages: New Evidence on the Minimum Wage and Inter-Industry Wage Structure," Working Papers 610, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    2. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
    3. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Jeremy I. Bulow & Lawrence H. Summers, 1985. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy, Discrimination and Keynesian Unemployment," NBER Working Papers 1666, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1985. "The social cost of labor and project evaluation: A general approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 135-163, November.
    6. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Working Papers 1906, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1988. "Industrial Policy and International Competition in Wide-Bodied Jet Aircraft," NBER Chapters, in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 45-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326, February.
    9. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1987. "The Causes and Consequences of the Dependence of Quality on Price," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
    10. Holzer, Harry J & Katz, Lawrence F & Krueger, Alan B, 1991. "Job Queues and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 106(3), pages 739-68, August.
    11. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Michael A. Salinger, 1984. "Tobin's q, Unionization, and the Concentration-Profits Relationship," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 159-170, Summer.
    13. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1987. "Inter-Industry Wage Differences and Theories of Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 2271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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