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A Survey of Trade and Wage Inequality: Anomalies, Resolutions, and New Trends

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  • Yoshinori Kurokawa

Abstract

This paper surveys recent studies on trade and wage inequality. We first introduce some trade-based explanations for increased wage inequality. There are, however, a number of criticisms of this line of thought based on the "trade-wage inequality anomaly," the "price-wage anomaly," and the small volume of trade. Mainly due to these criticisms, trade-based explanations for rising wage inequality have been limited in the economic literature. Rather, the primary explanations for wage inequality have been based on skill-biased technological change. Some trade models, however, have weakened the above criticisms, and more economists now argue that the effect of trade, though relatively small compared to that of technological change, is more significant than generally believed. Finally, we attempt to link new trends in inequality, such as job polarization and within-group inequality, to the trade and wage inequality literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba in its series Tsukuba Economics Working Papers with number 2010-007.

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Date of creation: Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:tsu:tewpjp:2010-007

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Postal: 1-1-1 Tennodai, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8571
Web page: http://www.econ.tsukuba.ac.jp/
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  1. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
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  5. Nathalie Chusseau & Michel Dumont & Jo�l Hellier, 2008. "Explaining Rising Inequality: Skill-Biased Technical Change And North-South Trade ," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(3), pages 409-457, 07.
  6. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Papers 95-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  8. Verhoogen, Eric, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  9. James Harrigan & Rita A. Balaban, 1999. "U.S. wages in general equilibrium: the effects of prices, technology and factor supplies, 1963-1991," Staff Reports 64, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
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  11. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl, 2013. "How Important Is the New Goods Margin in International Trade?," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(2), pages 358 - 392.
  12. Dinopoulos, Elias & Segerstrom, Paul, 1996. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," Working Paper Series 471, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  13. Claudia Goldin & Lawrence F. Katz, 1998. "The Origins Of Technology-Skill Complementarity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(3), pages 693-732, August.
  14. Donald R. Davis, 1996. "Trade Liberalization and Income Distribution," NBER Working Papers 5693, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2011. "Is a skill intensity reversal a mere theoretical curiosum? Evidence from the US and Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 151-154, August.
  16. Gary Burtless, 1995. "International Trade and the Rise in Earnings Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(2), pages 800-816, June.
  17. Katz, Lawrence F. & Autor, David H., 1999. "Changes in the wage structure and earnings inequality," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 26, pages 1463-1555 Elsevier.
  18. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality in Mexico," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
  19. Robertson, Raymond, 2004. "Relative prices and wage inequality: evidence from Mexico," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 387-409, December.
  20. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2005. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality in Sweden," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 107(4), pages 711-735, December.
  21. Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2006. "Trade and Variety-Skill Complementarity: A Simple Trade-Based Resolution of Wage Inequality Anomaly," MPRA Paper 14011, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  22. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Andrea Vaona, 2013. "Countervailing inequality effects of globalization and renewable energy generation in Argentina," Working Papers 12/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.

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