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International trade and polarization in the labor market

  • Das, Satya P.

The paper builds an argument that international trade can be an explanation behind polarization of employment in the labor market observed in developed countries such as UK and US It considers a small open economy, having production sectors which use three types of labor: high-skill, middle-skill and low-skill. The economy faces an increase in the relative price of the high-skill intensive sector. Using decision rules for choosing high-skill, middleskill and low-skill education, it is shown that such a terms-of- trade shock can lead to polarization: shrinkage of middle-skill jobs, combined with higher shares of high-skill as well as low-skill workers in the total workforce. The effects of off-shoring on wages and job composition are also studied. Off-shoring of low-skill and high-skill tasks, not middle-skill tasks, is shown to contribute towards polarization in job composition.

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Article provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its journal Economics: The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal.

Volume (Year): 6 (2012)
Issue (Month): ()
Pages: 1-44

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Handle: RePEc:zbw:ifweej:20126
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  1. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:118:y:2003:i:4:p:1279-1333 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, 08.
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  9. Maarten Goos & Alan Manning, 2003. "Lousy and Lovely Jobs: the Rising Polarization of Work in Britain," CEP Discussion Papers dp0604, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  10. Bradford J Jensen & Andrew B Bernard, 1994. "Exporters, Skill Upgrading And The Wage Gap," Working Papers 94-13, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
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  14. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  15. Alexandra Spitz-Oener, 2006. "Technical Change, Job Tasks, and Rising Educational Demands: Looking outside the Wage Structure," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 24(2), pages 235-270, April.
  16. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Melissa S. Kearney, 2008. "Trends in U.S. Wage Inequality: Revising the Revisionists," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 300-323, May.
  17. Pham, Thi Kim Cuong, 2005. "Economic growth and status-seeking through personal wealth," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 407-427, June.
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