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Analyzing Skilled and Unskilled Labor Efficiencies in the US

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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 2008-04.

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Handle: RePEc:lsu:lsuwpp:2008-04

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  1. Gordon, Robert J., 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226304557.
  2. 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.
  3. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  4. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2002. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," KITeS Working Papers 129, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2001.
  5. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2002. "The U.S. Technology Frontier," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(2), pages 148-152, May.
  6. 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.
  7. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jones, C.I., 2000. "Sources of U.S. Economic Growth in a World of Ideas," Papers 99-29, United Nations World Employment Programme-.
  9. Greenwood, Jeremy & Hercowitz, Zvi & Krusell, Per, 1997. "Long-Run Implications of Investment-Specific Technological Change," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 342-62, June.
  10. David Wasshausen & Brent R. Moulton, 2006. "The Role of Hedonic Methods in Measuring Real GDP in the United States," BEA Papers 0067, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
  11. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," IDB Publications 6476, Inter-American Development Bank.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. Caselli, Francesco & Coleman II, Wilbur John, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," CEPR Discussion Papers 2584, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Robert J. Gordon, 1990. "The Measurement of Durable Goods Prices," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number gord90-1.
  16. Jorgenson, Dale W., 2005. "Accounting for Growth in the Information Age," Handbook of Economic Growth, in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 743-815 Elsevier.
  17. Bulent Unel, . "Firm Heterogeneity, Trade, and Wage Inequality," Departmental Working Papers 2008-02, Department of Economics, Louisiana State University.
  18. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  19. 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. Trevor S. Gallen & Casey B. Mulligan, 2013. "Wedges, Labor Market Behavior, and Health Insurance Coverage under the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 19770, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Naci H. Mocan & Bulent Unel, 2011. "Skill-biased Technological Change, Earnings of Unskilled Workers, and Crime," NBER Working Papers 17605, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Casey B. Mulligan & Trevor S. Gallen, 2013. "Wedges, Wages, and Productivity under the Affordable Care Act," NBER Working Papers 19771, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  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.

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