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Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers

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  • Franziska Ohnsorge
  • Daniel Trefler

Abstract

Each worker brings a bundle of skills to the workplace, for example, quantitative and communication skills. Since employers must take this bundle as a package deal, they choose workers with just the right mix of skills. We show that international differences in the distribution of worker skill bundles-for example, Japan's abundance of workers with a modest mix of both quantitative and teamwork skills-have important implications for international trade, industrial structure, and domestic income distribution. Formally, we model two-dimensional worker heterogeneity and show that the second moments of the distribution of skills are critical, as in the Roy model. (c) 2007 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Suggested Citation

  • Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jpolec:v:115:y:2007:i:5:p:868-892
    DOI: 10.1086/523657
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Donald R. Davis & David E. Weinstein, 2001. "Do Factor Endowments Matter for North-North Trade?," NBER Working Papers 8516, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Mas-Colell, Andreu & Whinston, Michael D. & Green, Jerry R., 1995. "Microeconomic Theory," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780195102680.
    3. Leamer, Edward E., 1980. "Welfare computations and the optimal staging of tariff reductions in models with adjustment costs," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 21-36, February.
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