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Making Sense of Bolkestein-Bashing: Trade Liberalization Under Segmented Labour Markets

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  • Saint-Paul, Gilles

Abstract

Trade liberalization is often met with sharp opposition. Recent examples include the so-called ‘Bolkestein’ directive, which allows service providers from a given EU member to temporarily work in another member country. One way to view such a reform is that it simply widens the range of goods that are tradable. This kind of reform is analysed in a two-country Dornbusch-Fischer-Samuelson style model, where labour cannot relocate to another sector upon a non-expected increase in the range of goods that can be traded. The effect of liberalization on the terms of trade tend to favour the poorer country (the ‘East’), if (as assumed) the most sophisticated goods are tradable before reform. Second, under ex-post liberalization, there exists a class of workers in the West who are harmed because they face competition from Eastern workers and cannot relocate to other activities. But if the East’s economy is relatively small, their wage losses are not very large. Things are different, however, if there exist asymmetries in labour market institutions, such that upon reform, labour can relocate in the East but not in the West. Some workers in the West can then experience very large wage losses. Thus, rigid labour markets in the West magnify opposition to reform there.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5100.

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Date of creation: Jun 2005
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5100

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Keywords: bolkestein directive; comparative advantage; european integration; labour market institutions; labour mobility; terms of trade; trade liberalization;

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Cited by:
  1. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Globalization and Labor Market Institutions: International Empirical Evidence," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 154, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  2. Joseph F. Francois & Bernard Hoekman, 2009. "Services Trade and Policy," Economics working papers 2009-03, Department of Economics, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
  3. Lamo, Ana & Messina, Julián & Wasmer, Etienne, 2006. "Are specific skills an obstacle to labor market adjustment? Theory and an application to the EU enlargement," Working Paper Series 0585, European Central Bank.
  4. Alexandre Janiak, 2008. "Mobility in Europe - Why it is low, the bottlenecks, and the policy solutions," European Economy - Economic Papers 340, Directorate General Economic and Monetary Affairs (DG ECFIN), European Commission.
  5. Lars Calmfors & Giancarlo Corsetti & Michael P. Devereux & Gilles Saint-Paul & Hans-Werner Sinn & Jan-Egbert Sturm & Xavier Vives, 2008. "Chapter 3: The effect of globalisation on Western European jobs: curse or blessing?," EEAG Report on the European Economy, CESifo Group Munich, vol. 0, pages 71-104, 02.
  6. Bank for International Settlements, 2010. "Globalisation, labour markets and international adjustment - Essays in honour of Palle S Andersen," BIS Papers, Bank for International Settlements, number 50, May.

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