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Trade liberalization and unemployment: Theory and evidence from India

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  • Hasan, Rana
  • Mitra, Devashish
  • Ranjan, Priya
  • Ahsan, Reshad N.

Abstract

A widely held view among the public is that trade liberalization increases unemployment. Using state and industry-level unemployment and trade protection data from India, we find no evidence of any unemployment increasing effect of trade reforms. In fact, our state-level analysis reveals that urban unemployment declines with trade liberalization in states with flexible labor markets and larger employment shares in net exporter industries. Moreover, our industry-level analysis indicates that workers in industries experiencing greater reductions in trade protection were less likely to become unemployed, especially in net export industries. Our results can be explained within a theoretical framework incorporating trade and search-generated unemployment and some institutional features of the Indian economy.

Suggested Citation

  • Hasan, Rana & Mitra, Devashish & Ranjan, Priya & Ahsan, Reshad N., 2012. "Trade liberalization and unemployment: Theory and evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 97(2), pages 269-280.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:deveco:v:97:y:2012:i:2:p:269-280
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jdeveco.2011.04.002
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Search unemployment; Protection; Trade reforms; Labor markets; India;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J6 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers
    • O19 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - International Linkages to Development; Role of International Organizations
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East

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