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The Effect of Trade on the Demand for Skill: Evidence from the Interstate Highway System

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  • Guy Michaels

    (Department of Economics, LSE)

Abstract

The advent of the U.S. Interstate Highway System provides an interesting experiment, which I use to identify the labor market effects of reduced trade barriers. This highway network was designed to connect cities and border crossings and to serve national defense, and as an unintended consequence it crossed many rural counties. I find that these counties experienced an increase in trade-related activities, such as trucking and retail sales. By increasing trade, the highways raised the relative demand for skilled manufacturing workers in skill-abundant counties and reduced it elsewhere, consistent with the predictions of the Heckscher-Ohlin model. Copyright by the President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Guy Michaels, 2008. "The Effect of Trade on the Demand for Skill: Evidence from the Interstate Highway System," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(4), pages 683-701, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:90:y:2008:i:4:p:683-701
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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