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Quantifying the Impact of Tradeon Wages

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  • Stephen Tokarick
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    Abstract

    This paper uses an applied general equilbrium model to decompose the effects of changes in trade and technology-related variables on wages of skilled and unskilled labor between 1982 and 1996 in the United States. The results indicate that trade-related variables (tariff cuts, improvement in the terms of trade, and the increase in the trade deficit) had little impact on the widening wage gap. Also, changes in total factor productivity had a small effect on relative wages. The major factor behind the rise in the skilled wage relative to the unskilled wage was differential rates of growth in skill-biased technical change across sectors. The paper also highlights the role that nontraded goods play in explaining the wage gap. Finally, the paper presents estimates of the effect of trade on wages by calculating what wage rates would be under autarky. The results show that expanding trade could actually reduce wage inequality, rather than increase it. The welfare costs to the U.S economy of moving to autarky (using 1996 as a base) are about 6 percent of GDP.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 02/191.

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    Length: 31
    Date of creation: 01 Nov 2002
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:02/191

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    Related research

    Keywords: Trade; wage; wages; unskilled labor; skilled labor; changes in terms of wage rates; elasticity of substitution; international trade deficit; equilibrium model; import tariff; export sector; tariff rate; tariff revenue; impact of world price; domestic demand; expanding factor endowments; tariff cut; income elasticities; import sector; skilled workers; average tariff rate; unskilled workers; income distribution; trade flows; tariff barriers; constant elasticity of substitution; transport costs; average tariff; trade model; tariff revenue on imports; price of imports; tariff cuts; global world markets; trade models; measure of importable goods; world prices; intermediate goods; import tariffs; increased import competition; value of imports; non-tariff barriers; import prices; factor price; wage rate; trade theory; exogenous capital inflows; average import tariff; open economy; import penetration; equilibrium ? model;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Dalia Hakura, 1997. "The Impact of Trade Priceson Employment and Wages in the United States," IMF Working Papers 97/116, International Monetary Fund.
    2. Baldwin, Robert E & Cain, Glen C, 1997. "Shifts in US Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology and Factor Endowments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1596, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
    4. Lisandro Abrego & John Whalley, 1999. "The Choice of Structural Model in Trade-Wages Decompositions," NBER Working Papers 7312, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1974. "Tariffs and nontraded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 177-185, May.
    6. Hakura, D. & Deardorff, A.V., 1993. "Trade and Wages: What Are the Questions?," Working Papers 341, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    7. Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2003. "Have Falling Tariffs and Transportation Costs Raised US Wage Inequality?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 630-650, 09.
    8. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "In Search of Stolper-Samuelson Effects on U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 5427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
    10. Krugman, Paul R., 2000. "Technology, trade and factor prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
    11. Dawkins, Christina & Srinivasan, T.N. & Whalley, John, 2001. "Calibration," Handbook of Econometrics, in: J.J. Heckman & E.E. Leamer (ed.), Handbook of Econometrics, edition 1, volume 5, chapter 58, pages 3653-3703 Elsevier.
    12. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "What Are the Results of Product-Price Studies and What Can We Learn From Their Differences?," NBER Working Papers 6591, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Kevin J. Stiroh & Dale W. Jorgenson, 2000. "U.S. Economic Growth at the Industry Level," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 161-167, May.
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    Cited by:
    1. Rod Tyers & Ian Bain & Jahnvi Vedi, 2006. "The global implications of freer skilled migration," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2006-468, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    2. Rod Tyers & Iain Bain & Jahnvi Vedi, 2007. "The Global Economic Implications of Freer Skilled Migration," DEGIT Conference Papers c012_028, DEGIT, Dynamics, Economic Growth, and International Trade.

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