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Skill Dispersion and Trade Flows

Author

Listed:
  • Matilde Bombardini
  • Giovanni Gallipoli
  • German Pupato

Abstract

Is skill dispersion a source of comparative advantage? In this paper we use microdata from the International Adult Literacy Survey to show that the effect of skill dispersion on trade flows is quantitatively similar to that of the aggregate endowment of human capital. In particular we investigate, and find support for, the hypothesis that countries with a more dispersed skill distribution specialize in industries characterized by lower complementarity of workers' skills. The result is robust to the introduction of controls for alternative sources of comparative advantage, as well as to alternative measures of industry-level skill complementarity. (JEL F14, F16, J24, J31)

Suggested Citation

  • Matilde Bombardini & Giovanni Gallipoli & German Pupato, 2012. "Skill Dispersion and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(5), pages 2327-2348, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:102:y:2012:i:5:p:2327-48
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J82 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards - - - Labor Force Composition

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