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Trade, Wages and "Superstars"

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  • Paolo Manasse
  • Alessandro Turrini

Abstract

We study the effects ''globalization'' on wage inequality. Our ''global'' economy resembles Rosen (1981) ''Superstars'' economy, where a) innovations in production and communication technologies enable suppliers to reach a larger mass of consumers and to improve the (perceived) quality of their products and b) trade barriers fall.When transport costs fall, income is redistributed away from the non-exporting to the exporting sector of the economy. As the former turns out to employ workers of higher skill and pay, the effect is to raise wage inequality. Whether the least skilled are stand to lose or gain from improved production or communication technologies, in contrast, depends on wether technology is skill-complement or substitute. The model gives an intuitive explanation for the empirical regularities that skill intensity, market size and wages tend to be positively associated to exporting activity, across sectors and plants.

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Paper provided by IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University in its series Working Papers with number 140.

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Handle: RePEc:igi:igierp:140

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 1997. "Exceptional Exporter Performance: Cause, Effect, or Both?," NBER Working Papers 6272, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. S. Baranzoni & P. Bianchi & L. Lambertini, 2000. "Market Structure," Working Papers 368, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  3. Grossmann, G.M. & Maggi, G., 1998. "Diversity and Trade," Papers 192, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  4. Phillip Swagel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1997. "The Effect of Globilization on Wages in the Advanced Economies," IMF Working Papers 97/43, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Bernard, A.B. & Jensen, J.B., 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading, and the Wage Gap," Working papers 94-30, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  6. Brian J. Hall & Jeffrey B. Liebman, 1997. "Are CEOs Really Paid Like Bureaucrats?," NBER Working Papers 6213, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Andrew Bernard & Joachim Wagner, 2001. "Export entry and exit by German firms," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 137(1), pages 105-123, March.
  8. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  9. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  10. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  11. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  12. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  13. Smith, Alasdair & Venables, Anthony J., 1991. "Economic integration and market access," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 35(2-3), pages 388-395, April.
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