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Firm heterogeneity, trade, and wage inequality

  • Unel, Bulent

This paper considers a world of symmetric countries with two factors of production and two sectors. Outputs of the two sectors are imperfect substitutes and the sectors differ in relative factor intensity. Each sector contains a continuum of heterogeneous firms that produce differentiated goods within their sector. Trade is costly and there are both variable and fixed costs of exporting. The paper shows that under some plausible conditions supported by the data, trade between similar countries can increase the demand for skilled labor, which in turn increases the wage inequality between skilled and unskilled labor. The quantitative analysis suggests that such trade effects have played an important role in the increase in the US skill premium.

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File URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V85-4YMPX35-1/2/ff7bb76fa34cb15cc223b7ccd089efa1
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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.

Volume (Year): 34 (2010)
Issue (Month): 8 (August)
Pages: 1369-1379

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Handle: RePEc:eee:dyncon:v:34:y:2010:i:8:p:1369-1379
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/jedc

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  9. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Directed Technical Change," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 781-809.
  10. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2002. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," KITeS Working Papers 129, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2001.
  11. Miguel Székely & Nancy Birdsall & Jere R. Behrman, 2000. "Economics Reform and Wage Differentials in Latin America," Research Department Publications 4235, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
  12. David Autor & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," Working Papers 756, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  13. Donald S. Siegel & Catherine J. Morrison Paul, 1999. "Scale Economies and Industry Agglomeration Externalities: A Dynamic Cost Function Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(1), pages 272-290, March.
  14. Bound, John & Johnson, George, 1992. "Changes in the Structure of Wages in the 1980's: An Evaluation of Alternative Explanations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 371-92, June.
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  18. Neary, J Peter, 2002. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 680-93, November.
  19. Choi, E. Kwan & Harrigan, James, 2003. "Handbook of International Trade," Staff General Research Papers 11375, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  20. Ariell Reshef, 2013. "Is Technological Change Biased Towards the Unskilled in Services? An Empirical Investigation," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(2), pages 312-331, April.
  21. 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 533-54, December.
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  23. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
  24. Jere R. Behrman & Nancy Birdsall & Miguel Székely, 2003. "Economic Policy and Wage Differentials in Latin America," Working Papers 29, Center for Global Development.
  25. Andrew B Bernard & Jonathan Eaton & J. Bradford Jensen & Samuel Kortum, 2000. "Plants and productivity in international trade," Working Papers 00-08, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  26. Kiminori Matsuyama, 2007. "Beyond Icebergs: Towards a Theory of Biased Globalization," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(1), pages 237-253.
  27. Katz, L.F. & Murphy, K.M., 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1580, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  28. Daron Acemoglu, 2002. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 7-72, March.
  29. Ventura, Jaume, 1997. "Growth and Interdependence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 57-84, February.
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