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Firm Heterogeneity, Trade, and Wage Inequality

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This paper considers a world of two symmetric countries with two factors and two sectors. Outputs of the two sectors are imperfect substitutes and sectors differ in relative factor inten- sity. Each sector contains a continuum of heterogenous firms that produce differentiated goods within their sector. Trade is costly and there are both variable and fixed costs of exporting. The paper shows that under some plausible conditions supported by the data, trade between similar countries can increase the demand for skilled labor, which in turn increases the wage inequality between skilled and unskilled labor. The quantitative analyses suggest that such trade effects can explain up to 12 percent of the increase in the US skill premium.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Louisiana State University in its series Departmental Working Papers with number 2008-02.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2008-02

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  1. Andrew B. Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and Productivity in International Trade," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 105, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2004. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," Working Papers 184, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Cabral, Luís M B & Mata, José, 2001. "On the Evolution of the Firm Size Distribution: Facts and Theory," CEPR Discussion Papers 3045, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Andrew Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter Schott, 2004. "Comparative advantage and heterogeneous firms," IFS Working Papers W04/24, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," IDB Publications 6476, Inter-American Development Bank.
  7. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  8. Werner Antweiler & Daniel Trefler, 2000. "Increasing Returns and All That: A View From Trade," NBER Working Papers 7941, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. J Peter Neary, 2001. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Working Papers 200102, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  10. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  11. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
  12. Ventura, Jaume, 1997. "Growth and Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 57-84, February.
  13. J Bradford Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," Working Papers 01-05, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  14. Melitz, Marc J, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 3381, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Yeaple, Stephen & Helpman, Elhanan & Melitz, Marc, 2004. "Export versus FDI with Heterogeneous Firms," Scholarly Articles 3229098, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  16. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  17. Daron Acemoglu, 1998. "Why Do New Technologies Complement Skills? Directed Technical Change And Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1055-1089, November.
  18. Jere R. Behrman & Nancy Birdsall & Miguel Székely, 2003. "Economic Policy and Wage Differentials in Latin America," Working Papers 29, Center for Global Development.
  19. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Robert Baldwin & Frédéric Robert-Nicoud, 2006. "Trade and growth with heterogeneous firms," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19856, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  21. repec:rus:hseeco:122439 is not listed on IDEAS
  22. Antonio Ciccone & Giovanni Peri, 2005. "Long-Run Substitutability Between More and Less Educated Workers: Evidence from U.S. States, 1950-1990," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(4), pages 652-663, November.
  23. Donald S. Siegel & Catherine J. Morrison Paul, 1999. "Scale Economies and Industry Agglomeration Externalities: A Dynamic Cost Function Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 272-290, March.
  24. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-82, September.
  25. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  26. 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.
  27. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Beyond Icebergs: Towards a Theory of Biased Globalization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 237-253.
  28. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
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Cited by:
  1. Unel, Bulent, 2010. "Analyzing skilled and unskilled labor efficiencies in the US," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 957-967, December.
  2. Emami Namini, Julian, 2014. "The short and long-run impact of globalization if firms differ in factor input ratios," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 37-64.
  3. repec:dgr:uvatin:2009020 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Dinopoulos, Elias & Syropoulos, Constantinos & Xu, Bin & Yotov, Yoto V., 2011. "Intraindustry trade and the skill premium: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 15-25, May.
  5. Anwar, Sajid & Sun, Sizhong & Valadkhani, Abbas, 2013. "International outsourcing of skill intensive tasks and wage inequality," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 590-597.
  6. Gino Gancia, 2012. "Globalization, technology and inequality," Economics Working Papers 1363, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Nov 2012.

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