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Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization

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  • Davis, Donald R.
  • Harrigan, James

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Davis, Donald R. & Harrigan, James, 2011. "Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 26-36, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:inecon:v:84:y:2011:i:1:p:26-36
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade liberalization Good jobs Firm heterogeneity Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • F1 - International Economics - - Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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