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Trade, skill-biased technical change and wages in Mexican manufacturing


  • Mauro Caselli


This article looks at the relative importance of competing stories, particularly trade liberalization and skill-biased technical change, to explain changes in the skill premium and the real wages of unskilled and skilled workers in Mexican manufacturing using plant-level data. The channel through which technical change is observed is changes in the domestic price of machinery and equipment due to the availability of new and cheaper machines. The analysis also looks at trade-induced skill-biased technical change by taking into account changes in the price of machinery and equipment caused by changes in the tariff rate specific to machinery and equipment. Instrumental variables, including the price of machinery and equipment in the United States, are used to determine causality between the above effects and wages. Thus, the article provides evidence for some recent findings in the literature that link trade liberalization, skill-biased technical change occurring through technology embodied in machines and increases in the skill premium.

Suggested Citation

  • Mauro Caselli, 2014. "Trade, skill-biased technical change and wages in Mexican manufacturing," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(3), pages 336-348, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:applec:v:46:y:2014:i:3:p:336-348
    DOI: 10.1080/00036846.2013.848033

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adriaan Ten Kate, 1989. "Notas Sobre La Apertura Comercial De Mexico, Experiencias Y Lecciones," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 8(15), pages 95-111, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Irene Iodice & Chiara Tomasi, 2015. "Skill upgrading, wage gap and international trade: firm-level evidence for Italian manufacturing firms," LEM Papers Series 2015/06, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    2. Sonia A. Agudelo & Hector Sala, 2016. "Wage setting in the Colombian manufacturing industry," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 24(1), pages 99-134, January.
    3. Furuta, Manabu, 2016. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in the Indian Manufacturing Sector," MPRA Paper 73709, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • J30 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General


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