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Product Quality, Wage Inequality, and Trade Liberalization

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  • Yan Ma
  • Fumio Dei

Abstract

This paper constructs what we call a quality-differentiation model of Chinese trade. This model captures some salient features of Chinese trade and allows us to analyze the impact of trade liberalization on wage inequality. At present, Chinese trade displays the following features: high-quality cars are imported and low-quality cars are produced and consumed domestically, for which some parts are imported. These features lead us to consider trade liberalization as two types of tariff reduction: namely, a tariff reduction on final quality-differentiated goods and a tariff reduction on intermediate goods. This study shows that the two types of tariff reduction have completely different effects on wage inequality. Moreover, the results show that welfare inequality and wage inequality change in opposite directions when the tariff on final quality-differentiated goods is reduced. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Yan Ma & Fumio Dei, 2009. "Product Quality, Wage Inequality, and Trade Liberalization," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17(SI), pages 244-260, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:17:y:2009:i:si:p:244-260
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Ronald W. Jones, 2000. "Globalization and the Theory of Input Trade," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 026210086x, January.
    2. 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, January.
    3. Acharyya, Rajat & Jones, Ronald W., 2001. "Export quality and income distribution in a small dependent economy," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 10(4), pages 337-351, December.
    4. 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.
    5. Atolia, Manoj, 2007. "Trade liberalization and rising wage inequality in Latin America: Reconciliation with HOS theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 467-494, April.
    6. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Vertical Product Differentiation and North-South Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(5), pages 810-822, December.
    7. Sugata Marjit & Hamid Beladi & Avik Chakrabarti, 2004. "Trade and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 42(2), pages 295-303, April.
    8. Xu, Bin, 2003. "Trade liberalization, wage inequality, and endogenously determined nontraded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 417-431, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Takuma Kunieda & Akihisa Shibata, 2014. "Credit Market Imperfections and Macroeconomic Instability," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 592-611, December.
    2. Yao Liu & Arijit Mukherjee, 2013. "The Effects of Trade Liberalization in a Vertical Structure," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(5), pages 966-973, November.
    3. Makoto Yano & Takashi Komatsubara, 2014. "Participation of Ordinary Investors and Stock Market Quality: A Comparison between Japanese and US Markets," Pacific Economic Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 19(5), pages 537-558, December.
    4. Jalil, Abdul, 2012. "Modeling income inequality and openness in the framework of Kuznets curve: New evidence from China," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 309-315.

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