IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Smooth and Sticky Adjustment: A Comparative Analysis of the US and UK


  • Haynes, Michelle
  • Upward, Richard
  • Wright, Peter


This paper adopts the methodology of the microeconometric labor literature to analyze a common assertion from trade economists that reallocation within sectors is less costly than between sectors. Findings are compared across two countries (the UK and US) which have experienced very different recent aggregate unemployment experiences. Workers previously employed in "declining" sectors are more mobile than those employed in "expanding" sectors in both countries, and individuals are more likely to switch sector the longer they are unemployed. A plausible explanation for this is that individuals initially attempt to find jobs that complement their general and specific skills in order to accrue the associated rewards, and move sector only as this prospect diminishes. This would seem to accord with the "smooth adjustment hypothesis" which proposes that intraindustry adjustments are less costly than interindustry ones. Copyright 2000 by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Suggested Citation

  • Haynes, Michelle & Upward, Richard & Wright, Peter, 2000. "Smooth and Sticky Adjustment: A Comparative Analysis of the US and UK," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 517-532, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:8:y:2000:i:3:p:517-32

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to full text
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keller, Wolfgang, 2002. "Trade and the Transmission of Technology," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(1), pages 5-24, March.
    2. Blomstrom, Magnus & Fors, Gunnar & Lipsey, Robert E, 1997. "Foreign Direct Investment and Employment: Home Country Experience in the United States and Sweden," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 107(445), pages 1787-1797, November.
    3. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U. S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-397.
    4. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1215-1244.
    5. repec:hhs:iuiwop:490 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Horn, Henrik & Lang, Harald & Lundgren, Stefan, 1995. "Managerial effort incentives, X-inefficiency and international trade," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 39(1), pages 117-138, January.
    7. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Papers 95-14, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    8. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-554, December.
    10. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1995. "Differences and Changes in Wage Structures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number free95-1, January.
    11. Hansson, Pär, 1996. "Trade, Technology and Changes in Employment of Skilled Labour in Swedish Manufacturing," Working Paper Series 131, Trade Union Institute for Economic Research.
    12. Hall, Bronwyn H. & Mairesse, Jacques, 1995. "Exploring the relationship between R&D and productivity in French manufacturing firms," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 263-293, January.
    13. Per-Anders Edin & Bertil Holmlund, 1995. "The Swedish Wage Structure: The Rise and Fall of Solidarity Wage Policy?," NBER Chapters,in: Differences and Changes in Wage Structures, pages 307-344 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213.
    15. Machin, Steve, 1994. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    16. Wolfgang Keller, 1997. "Trade and Transmission of Technology," NBER Working Papers 6113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    17. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, June.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. T. Huw Edwards & John Whalley, 2002. "Short and Long Run Decompositions of OECD Wage Inequality Changes," NBER Working Papers 9265, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Marius Brülhart & Robert Elliott, 2002. "Labour-market effects of intra-industry trade: Evidence for the United Kingdom," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 138(2), pages 207-228, June.
    3. Abdul Azhar & Robert Elliott, 2003. "On the measurement of trade-induced adjustment," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 139(3), pages 419-439, September.
    4. Bradley, Steve & Crouchley, Rob & Oskrochi, Reza, 2003. "Social exclusion and labour market transitions: a multi-state multi-spell analysis using the BHPS," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(6), pages 659-679, December.
    5. Roberto Leombruni & Roberto Quaranta, 2002. "The Unemployment Route to Versatility," LABORatorio R. Revelli Working Papers Series 16, LABORatorio R. Revelli, Centre for Employment Studies.
    6. R J R Elliott & J Lindley, 2003. "Trade, Skills and Adjustment Costs: A Study of Intra-Sectoral Labour Mobility in the UK," The School of Economics Discussion Paper Series 0312, Economics, The University of Manchester.
    7. Mónica Rivera, 2014. "Trade patterns in the process of European integration: Evidence for the intraindustrial exchanges of a Mediterranean peripheral region," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 52(1), pages 227-249, January.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:bla:reviec:v:8:y:2000:i:3:p:517-32. 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: (Wiley-Blackwell Digital Licensing) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    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.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.