IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this article

Recent Perspectives on Trade and Inequality

  • Ann Harrison

    (Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, and The World Bank, Washington, DC 20433)

  • John McLaren


    (Department of Economics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904-4182)

  • Margaret McMillan

    (Department of Economics, Tufts University, Medford, Massachusetts 02155, and IFPRI, Washington, DC 20006-1002)

The 1990s dealt a blow to traditional Heckscher-Ohlin analysis of the relationship between trade and income inequality, as it became clear that rising inequality in low-income countries and other features of the data were inconsistent with that model. As a result, economists moved away from trade as a plausible explanation for rising income inequality. In recent years, however, a number of new mechanisms have been explored through which trade can affect (and usually increase) income inequality. These include within-industry effects due to heterogeneous firms, the effects of offshoring of tasks, effects on incomplete contracting, and the effects of labor-market frictions. A number of these mechanisms have received substantial empirical support.

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:
Download Restriction: Full text downloads are only available to subscribers. Visit the abstract page for more information.

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Article provided by Annual Reviews in its journal Annual Review of Economics.

Volume (Year): 3 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (09)
Pages: 261-289

in new window

Handle: RePEc:anr:reveco:v:3:y:2011:p:261-289
Contact details of provider: Postal:
Annual Reviews 4139 El Camino Way Palo Alto, CA 94306, USA

Web page:

Order Information: Web:

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. Devashish Mitra & Priya Ranjan, 2007. "Offshoring and Unemployment," Working Papers 060719, University of California-Irvine, Department of Economics.
  2. Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 2001. "The disturbing 'rise' of global income inequality," Economics Working Papers 616, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Apr 2002.
  3. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  4. Ravallion, Martin, 2003. "The debate on globalization, poverty, and inequality : why measurement matters," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3038, The World Bank.
  5. 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.
  6. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  7. Stephen Cameron & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2007. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: Theory," NBER Working Papers 13463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Jonathan Vogel & Arnaud Costinot, 2008. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," 2008 Meeting Papers 879, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  9. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2008. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Mathias Thoenig & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "A Theory of Defensive Skill-Biased Innovation and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 709-728, June.
  11. J. Bradford Jensen & Andrew Bernard & Peter Schott, 2005. "Survival of the Best Fit: Exposure to Low-Wage Countries and the (Uneven) Growth of U.S. Manufacturing Plants," Working Papers 05-19, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  12. Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan, 2007. "On the links between globalization and poverty," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 5(1), pages 123-134, April.
  13. J. Peter Neary, 2003. "Presidential Address: Globalization and Market Structure," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 1(2-3), pages 245-271, 04/05.
  14. Ebenstein, Avraham & Harrison, Ann & McMillan, Margaret & Phillips, Shannon, 2011. "Estimating the impact of trade and offshoring on American workers using the current population surveys," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5750, The World Bank.
  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. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, 07.
  17. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  18. Pravin Krishna & Mine Zeynep Senses, 2009. "International Trade and Labor Income Risk in the United States," NBER Working Papers 14992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Paula Bustos, 2005. "The impact of trade liberalization on skill upgrading. Evidence from Argentina," Economics Working Papers 1189, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2011.
  20. Bilgehan Karabay & John McLaren, 2009. "Trade, Offshoring, and the Invisible Handshake," NBER Working Papers 15048, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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).
  22. 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.
  23. Marianne Bertrand, 2004. "From the Invisible Handshake to the Invisible Hand? How Import Competition Changes the Employment Relationship," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(4), pages 723-766, October.
  24. Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan, 2009. "Offshoring Jobs? Multinationals and US Manufacturing Employment," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0741, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
  25. Steven J. Matusz, 1985. "The Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model with Implicit Contracts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 100(4), pages 1313-1329.
  26. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "Trade, Inequality, and Poverty: What Do We Know? Evidence from Recent Trade Liberalization Episodes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  27. Harrison, Ann (ed.), 2007. "Globalization and Poverty," National Bureau of Economic Research Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 0, number 9780226318004, March.
  28. Matusz, Steven J, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Unemployment and International Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 307-22, June.
  29. Robert C. Feenstra & Gene M. Grossman & Douglas A. Irwin (ed.), 1996. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy: Papers in Honor of Jagdish Bhagwati," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061864, December.
  30. Naércio Aquino Menezes Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1936, CESifo Group Munich.
  31. Erhan Artuç & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2007. "Delay and Dynamics in Labor Market Adjustment: Simulation Results," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 0703, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  32. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade liberalization, exports and technology upgrading: Evidence on the impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean firms," Economics Working Papers 1173, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
  33. 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.
  34. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  35. James E. Anderson, 2009. "Globalization and Income Distribution: A Specific Factors Continuum Approach," NBER Working Papers 14643, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  36. Artuc, Erhan & Chaudhuri, Shubham & McLaren, John, 2014. "Some simple analytics of trade and labor mobility," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7089, The World Bank.
  37. Hopenhayn, Hugo A, 1992. "Entry, Exit, and Firm Dynamics in Long Run Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 60(5), pages 1127-50, September.
  38. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Beyond Icebergs: Towards a Theory of Biased Globalization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 237-253.
  39. Blanchard, Emily & Willmann, Gerald, 2013. "Trade, education, and the shrinking middle class," Kiel Working Papers 1831, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
  40. Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
  41. 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.
  42. Dinopoulos, Elias & Segerstrom, Paul, 1996. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," Working Paper Series 471, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  43. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
  44. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557.
  45. Irene Brambilla & Daniel Lederman & Guido Porto, 2012. "Exports, Export Destinations, and Skills," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3406-38, December.
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:anr:reveco:v:3:y:2011:p:261-289. 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: (

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.