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Fairness, Trade, and Inequality

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  • Hartmut Egger
  • Udo Kreickemeier

Abstract

We develop a model of international trade between two symmetric countries that features inter-group inequality between entrepreneurs and workers, and also intra-group inequality within each of those two groups. Individuals in the economy are heterogeneous with respect to their entrepreneurial ability, and firms run by more able entrepreneurs have a higher productivity level and make higher profits. There is rent-sharing at the firm level due to fair wage preferences of workers, and hence firms with higher profits pay higher wages in equilibrium in order to elicit their workers' full effort. We show that in this framework international trade increases income inequality between entrepreneurs and workers, and also inequality within these two subgroups of individuals, as measured by the respective Gini coefficients. Involuntary unemployment increases, but so does aggregate welfare.

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Paper provided by University of Nottingham, GEP in its series Discussion Papers with number 08/19.

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Handle: RePEc:not:notgep:08/19

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Keywords: Heterogeneous Firms; Fair Wages; Wage Inequality; Unemployment;

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