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Trade, Technology and UK Wage Inequality

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  • Haskel, Jonathan
  • Slaughter, Matthew

Abstract

The U.K. skill premium fell from the 1950s to the late 1970s and then rose very sharply. This paper examines the contributions to these relative wage movements of international trade and technical change. We first measure trade as changes in product prices and technical change as TFP growth. Then we relate price and TFP changes to a set of underlying factors. Among a number of results, we find that changes in prices, not TFP, were the major force behind the rise in inequality in the 1980s. We also find that although increased trade pressure has raised technical change, its effect on wage inequality was not quantitatively significant.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2091.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2091

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Keywords: Technology; Trade; Wage Inequality;

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References

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  1. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  2. R. E. Baldwin & G. G. Cain, . "Shifts in U.S. Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Factor Endowments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1132-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
  3. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  5. Haskel, Jonathan, 1991. "Imperfect Competition, Work Practices and Productivity Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 265-79, August.
  6. Leamer, Edward E. & Levinsohn, James, 1995. "International trade theory: The evidence," Handbook of International Economics, in: G. M. Grossman & K. Rogoff (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1339-1394 Elsevier.
  7. Nickell, S.J., 1993. "Competition and Crporate Performance," Economics Series Working Papers 99155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  8. Neven, Damien J & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Relative Prices, Trade and Restructuring in European Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 1451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Stephen Machin, 1995. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEP Discussion Papers dp0221, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155.
  11. Paul Geroski & Steve Machin & John Van Reenen, 1993. "The Profitability of Innovating Firms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 198-211, Summer.
  12. Haskel, Jonathan & Slaughter, Matthew, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  14. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "In Search of Stolper-Samuelson Effects on U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 5427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-54, December.
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