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International Trade and Income Inequality

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  • Taiji Furusawa
  • Hideo Konishi
  • Duong Lam Anh Tran

Abstract

We propose a simple theory that shows a mechanism through which international trade entails wage and job polarization. We consider two countries in which individuals with different abilities work either as knowledge workers, who develop differentiated products, or as production workers, who engage in production. In equilibrium, ex ante symmetric firms attract knowledge workers with different abilities, and this creates firm heterogeneity in product quality. Market integration disproportionately benefits firms that produce high‐quality products. This winner‐take‐all trend of product markets causes a war for talents, which exacerbates income inequality within the countries and leads to labor‐market polarization.

Suggested Citation

  • Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi & Duong Lam Anh Tran, 2020. "International Trade and Income Inequality," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 122(3), pages 993-1026, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:122:y:2020:i:3:p:993-1026
    DOI: 10.1111/sjoe.12360
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    Cited by:

    1. Katsufumi Fukuda, 2013. "The Effect of Globalization in an Endogenous Growth Model with Heterogeneous Firms and Endogenous International Spillovers: Note," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-24, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    2. Atolia Manoj & Kurokawa Yoshinori, 2021. "Entry Costs, Task Variety, and Skill Flexibility: A Simple Theory of (Top) Income Skewness," The B.E. Journal of Macroeconomics, De Gruyter, vol. 21(1), pages 97-124, January.
    3. Kunieda, Takuma & Nishimura, Kazuo & Shibata, Akihisa, 2018. "Specializations, financial constraints, and income distribution," International Review of Economics & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 3-14.
    4. Katsufumi Fukuda, 2013. "The Effect of Globalization in a Semi Endogenous Growth Model with Firm Heterogeneity, Endogenous International Spillover, and Trade," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-21, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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