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Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization

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  • Donald R. Davis

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Columbia University)

  • James Harrigan

    ()
    (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)

Abstract

Globalization threatens "good jobs at good wages", according to overwhelming public sentiment. Yet professional discussion often rules out such concerns a priori. We instead offer a framework to interpret and address these concerns. We develop a model in which monopolistically competitive firms pay efficiency wages, and these firms differ in both their technical capability and their monitoring ability. Heterogeneity in the ability of firms to monitor effort leads to different wages for identical workers - good jobs and bad jobs - as well as equilibrium unemployment. Wage heterogeneity combines with differences in technical capability to generate an equilibrium size distribution of firms. As in Melitz (2003), trade liberalization increases aggregate efficiency through a firm selection effect. This efficiency-enhancing selection effect, however, puts pressure on many "good jobs", in the sense that the high-wage jobs at any level of technical capability are the least likely to survive trade liberalization. In a central case, trade raises the average real wage but leads to a loss of many "good jobs" and to a steady-state increase in unemployment.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Columbia University, Department of Economics in its series Discussion Papers with number 0607-07.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:clu:wpaper:0607-07

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  1. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1990. "The structure of supervision and pay in hospitals," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 43(3), pages 134-146, February.
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  4. Abowd, J.M. & Kramarz, F. & Margolis, D.N., 1995. "High-Wage Workers and High-Wage Firms," Cahiers de recherche 9503, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
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  7. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 599, Boston College Department of Economics.
  8. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Walter Y. Oi & Todd L. Idson, 1999. "Workers Are More Productive in Large Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(2), pages 104-108, May.
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  12. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen J., 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Christian Broda & David E. Weinstein, 2004. "Globalization and the Gains from Variety," NBER Working Papers 10314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Gregory Corcos & Massimo Del Gatto & Giordano Mion, 2009. "Productivity and Firm Selection: Quantifying the “New” Gains from Trade," Working Papers 2009.115, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2008. "Globalization and Labor Market Outcomes: Wage Bargaining, Search Frictions, and Firm Heterogeneity," IZA Discussion Papers 3363, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  19. Krugman, Paul R, 1981. "Intraindustry Specialization and the Gains from Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 959-73, October.
  20. Matusz, Steven J, 1996. "International Trade, the Division of Labor, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(1), pages 71-84, February.
  21. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  22. repec:sae:ecolab:v:16:y:2006:i:2:p:1-2 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Rebitzer, James B., 1995. "Is there a trade-off between supervision and wages? An empirical test of efficiency wage theory," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 107-129, September.
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