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Imperfect Labour Contracts and International Trade

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  • Grossman, Gene

Abstract

In an economy with imperfect labour contracts, differences in the distribution of human capital are an independent source of comparative advantage. I study a world economy with two sectors, one where output is produced by teams and another where individuals can work alone. When workers' abilities are private information and workers cannot verify the value of output or the level of a firm's profits, feasible labour contracts fail to generate efficient matching of workers within teams. The mismatch of talent on teams is more severe in the country with the more heterogeneous labour force, which generates a comparative disadvantage for this country in team production. Trade exacerbates the 'polarization' of the more diverse society. National income could be raised, and the distribution of income improved, by a marginal expansion in the size of the team sector.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2240.

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Date of creation: Sep 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2240

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Related research

Keywords: Comparative Advantage; Diversity; Income Distribution; Labour Contracts; Team Production;

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References

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  1. Kevin M. Murphy & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1990. "The Allocation of Talent: Implicationsfor Growth," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 65, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
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Cited by:
  1. Strand, Jon, 2003. "The decline or expansion of unions: a bargaining model with heterogeneous labor," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 317-340, June.
  2. Bin Xu, 2003. "Trade and financial liberalization with asymmetric information in bank financing," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 6(2), pages 57-69.

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