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Two Tales on the Returns to Education: The Impact of Trade on Wages

  • Edinaldo Tebaldi
  • Jongsung Kim

This paper uses micro data from the Current Population Survey combined with data from the US International Trade Commission and Bureau of Economic Analysis to evaluate the impacts of international trade (import penetration and export intensiveness) on wages with a special focus on the returns to education. Consistent with the literature, our empirical analysis provides evidence that the wage rates of similarly skilled workers differ across net-exporting, net-importing, and nontradable industries. Our results add to the literature by showing that the wage gap usually found across importing and exporting industries vanishes for highly skilled workers (workers with college degree and beyond) when we control for the cross-effect between international trade and education, but the wage gap due to international trade still persists for low-skilled workers. This finding supports the view that education serves as an equalizer and counterbalances the adverse impact from import penetration on wages of highly skilled workers. Copyright (C) 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

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Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Review of Development Economics.

Volume (Year): 14 (2010)
Issue (Month): 4 (November)
Pages: 768-782

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Handle: RePEc:bla:rdevec:v:14:y:2010:i:4:p:768-782
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  1. Bruce Elmslie & Edinaldo Tebaldi, 2007. "Sexual Orientation and Labor Market Discrimination," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 28(3), pages 436-453, July.
  2. Devashish Mitra & Vitor Trindade, 2005. "Inequality and trade," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1253-1271, November.
  3. Berman, E. & Bound, J. & Machin, S., 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Papers 25, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  4. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2000. "Understanding Increasing and Decreasing Wage Inequality," NBER Chapters, in: The Impact of International Trade on Wages, pages 227-268 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Donald R. Davis & James Harrigan, 2007. "Good Jobs, Bad Jobs, and Trade Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 13139, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Spielmann, Christian & Busse, Matthias, 2005. "Gender Inequality and Trade," Proceedings of the German Development Economics Conference, Kiel 2005 8, Verein für Socialpolitik, Research Committee Development Economics.
  8. Halvorsen, Robert & Palmquist, Raymond, 1980. "The Interpretation of Dummy Variables in Semilogarithmic Equations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 474-75, June.
  9. Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2008. "Trade and Workforce Changeover in Brazil," NBER Chapters, in: The Analysis of Firms and Employees: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, pages 269-308 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2001. "Why Some Firms Export," NBER Working Papers 8349, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Leonardo Gasparini & Pablo Acosta, 2004. "Capital Accumulation, Trade Liberalization and Rising Wage Inequality: The Case of Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0005, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
  12. Karl Taylor, 2002. "The impact of technology and trade upon the returns to education and occupation," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 34(11), pages 1371-1377.
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