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Open trade and skilled and unskilled labor productivity in developing countries: A panel data analysis


  • Sohrab Abizadeh
  • Mehmet Serkan Tosun


This paper examines the effect of trade openness on the productivity of skilled and unskilled labor in a group of 36 developing countries using panel data and fixed effect approach. We have developed and utilized an empirical model that readily lends itself to testing the hypothesis posed. Our results support the hypothesis that trade openness has a positive and significant impact on labor productivity for both skilled and unskilled labor in the sample countries. We also observe that the beneficial effect of trade openness is relatively stronger for the skilled labor than the unskilled labor. We conclude that contrary to the claim made by Mayda and Rodrik (2001), skilled workers in developing countries may oppose protectionism. When adjusting for the purchasing power parity, the impact of trade openness on labor productivity, although positive and significant, is not as pronounced as it is for other definitions of openness.

Suggested Citation

  • Sohrab Abizadeh & Mehmet Serkan Tosun, 2007. "Open trade and skilled and unskilled labor productivity in developing countries: A panel data analysis," The Journal of International Trade & Economic Development, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(3), pages 383-399.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:jitecd:v:16:y:2007:i:3:p:383-399 DOI: 10.1080/09638190701526949

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harry G. Johnson & Mel Krauss, 1970. "Border Taxes, Border Tax Adjustments, Comparative Advantage, and the Balance of Payments," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 3(4), pages 595-602, November.
    2. Yilmaz, Kamil, 1999. "Optimal export taxes in a multicountry framework," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 60(2), pages 439-465, December.
    3. Panagariya, Arvind & Schiff, Maurice, 1994. "Can revenue maximizing export taxes yield higher welfare than welfare maximizing export taxes?," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 79-84, May.
    4. Jagdish Bhagwati & Arvind Panagariya & T. N. Srinivasan, 1998. "Lectures on International Trade, 2nd Edition," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262522470, July.
    5. Rodrik, Dani, 1989. "Optimal trade taxes for a large country with non-atomistic firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(1-2), pages 157-167, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sohrab Abizadeh & Manish Pandey & Mehmet Serkan Tosun, 2007. "Impact of Trade on Productivity of Skilled and Unskilled Intensive Industries: A Cross-Country Investigation," Working Papers 07-007, University of Nevada, Reno, Department of Economics;University of Nevada, Reno , Department of Resource Economics.


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