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Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade

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  • Fernando Parro

Abstract

Technological change has reduced the relative price of capital goods. Reductions in trade costs make it cheaper to import capital goods. With capital-skill complementarity, both can increase the skill premium. I construct a general-equilibrium trade model with capital-skill complementarity to study the impact of changing worldwide trade costs and technologies on the skill premium. The impacts of trade costs and technical change are comparable, especially in developing countries, and much larger than Stolper-Samuelson effects. I find that both skilled and unskilled labor gain from trade, and that larger gains from trade are associated with larger increases in the skill premium. (JEL E22, F11, F16, J24, O33)

Suggested Citation

  • Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:72-117
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.5.2.72
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pablo Acosta & Gabriel V. Montes‐Rojas, 2008. "Trade Reform and Inequality: The Case of Mexico and Argentina in the 1990s," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 31(6), pages 763-780, June.
    2. Alvarez, Fernando & Lucas, Robert Jr., 2007. "General equilibrium analysis of the Eaton-Kortum model of international trade," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 54(6), pages 1726-1768, September.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E22 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Investment; Capital; Intangible Capital; Capacity
    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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