IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Globalization and U.S. Wages: Modifying Classic Theory to Explain Recent Facts

  • Jonathan Haskel
  • Robert Z. Lawrence
  • Edward E. Leamer
  • Matthew J. Slaughter

This paper seeks to review how globalization might explain the recent trends in real and relative wages in the United States. We begin with an overview of what is new during the last 10-15 years in globalization, productivity, and patterns of U.S. earnings. To preview our results, we then work through four main findings: First, there is only mixed evidence that trade in goods, intermediates, and services has been raising inequality between more- and less-skilled workers. Second, it is more possible, although far from proven, that globalization has been boosting the real and relative earnings of superstars. The usual trade-in-goods mechanisms probably have not done this. But other globalization channels—such as the combination of greater tradability of services and larger market sizes abroad—may be playing an important role. Third, seeing this possible role requires expanding standard Heckscher-Ohlin trade models, partly by adding insights of more recent research with heterogeneous firms and workers. Finally, our expanded trade framework offers new insights on the sobering fact of pervasive real-income declines for the large majority of Americans in the past decade.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.26.2.119
Download Restriction: no

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 26 (2012)
Issue (Month): 2 (Spring)
Pages: 119-40

as
in new window

Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:119-40
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.26.2.119
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/jep/
Email:


More information through EDIRC

Order Information: Web: https://www.aeaweb.org/subscribe.html

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
  2. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
  3. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
  4. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen J., 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2009. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," NBER Working Papers 14672, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ann Harrison & John McLaren & Margaret S. McMillan, 2010. "Recent Findings on Trade and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 16425, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Rosen, Sherwin, 1981. "The Economics of Superstars," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(5), pages 845-58, December.
  8. Blanchard, Emily & Willmann, Gerald, 2013. "Trade, education, and the shrinking middle class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  9. Avraham Ebenstein & Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan & Shannon Phillips, 2009. "Estimating the Impact of Trade and Offshoring on American Workers Using the Current Population Surveys," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0742, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  10. David H. Autor & Frank Levy & Richard J. Murnane, 2001. "The Skill Content of Recent Technological Change: An Empirical Exploration," NBER Working Papers 8337, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Paul R. Krugman, 2008. "Trade and Wages, Reconsidered," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 39(1 (Spring), pages 103-154.
  12. Mussa, Michael, 1974. "Tariffs and the Distribution of Income: The Importance of Factor Specificity, Substitutability, and Intensity in the Short and Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1191-1203, Nov.-Dec..
  13. James R. Markusen, 2004. "Multinational Firms and the Theory of International Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262633078, March.
  14. Mark J. Melitz, 2002. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," NBER Working Papers 8881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Runjuan Liu & Daniel Trefler, 2008. "Much Ado About Nothing: American Jobs and the Rise of Service Outsourcing to China and India," NBER Working Papers 14061, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Robert J. Gordon & Ian Dew-Becker, 2007. "Selected Issues in the Rise of Income Inequality," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 38(2), pages 169-192.
  17. repec:cen:wpaper:13-35 is not listed on IDEAS
  18. Neal, Derek, 1995. "Industry-Specific Human Capital: Evidence from Displaced Workers," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 13(4), pages 653-77, October.
  19. Lawrence Edwards & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2013. "Rising Tide: Is Growth in Emerging Economies Good for the United States?," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 5003, January.
  20. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2009. "Firm Heterogeneity And The Labor Market Effects Of Trade Liberalization," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 187-216, 02.
  21. Davis, Donald R. & Harrigan, James, 2011. "Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 26-36, May.
  22. Runjuan Liu & Daniel Trefler, 2011. "A Sorted Tale of Globalization: White Collar Jobs and the Rise of Service Offshoring," NBER Working Papers 17559, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  23. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1988. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models with Frictional Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1267-93, December.
  24. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:26:y:2012:i:2:p:119-40. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Jane Voros)

or (Michael P. Albert)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.