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Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization

  • Davis, Donald R.
  • Harrigan, James

How do labor markets adjust to trade liberalization? Leading models of intraindustry trade (Krugman (1981), Melitz (2003)) assume homogeneous workers and full employment, and thus predict that all workers win from trade liberalization, a conclusion at odds with the public debate. Our paper develops a new model that merges Melitz (2003) with Shapiro and Stiglitz (1984), so also links product market churning to labor market churning. Workers care about their jobs because the model features aggregate unemployment and jobs that pay different wages to identical workers. Simulations show that, for reasonable parameter values, as many as one-fourth of existing "good jobs" (those with above average wage) may be destroyed in a liberalization. This is true even as the model shows minimal impact on aggregate unemployment and quite substantial aggregate gains from trade.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of International Economics.

Volume (Year): 84 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 (May)
Pages: 26-36

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Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:84:y:2011:i:1:p:26-36
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505552

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  2. Fabio Ghironi & Marc J. Melitz, 2004. "International Trade and Macroeconomic Dynamics with Heterogeneous Firms," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 599, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  8. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen J., 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. James E. Anderson & Eric van Wincoop, 2003. "Gravity with Gravitas: A Solution to the Border Puzzle," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 170-192, March.
  10. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
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  17. Harrigan, James, 1993. "OECD imports and trade barriers in 1983," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(1-2), pages 91-111, August.
  18. Erica L. Groshen & Alan B. Krueger, 1989. "The structure of supervision and pay in hospitals," Working Paper 8907, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
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  22. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  23. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-44, June.
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