Blue-Collar Blues: Is Trade to Blame for Rising US Income Inequality?
International trade accounts for only a small share of growing income inequality and labor-market displacement in the United States. Lawrence deconstructs the gap in real blue-collar wages and labor productivity growth between 1981 and 2006 and estimates how much higher these wages might have been had income growth been distributed proportionately and how much of the gap is due to measurement and technical factors about which little can be done. * While increased trade with developing countries may have played some part in causing greater inequality in the 1980s, surprisingly, over the past decade the impact of such trade on inequality has been relatively small. Many imports are no longer produced in the United States, and US goods and services that do compete with imports are not particularly intensive in unskilled labor. Rising income inequality and slow real wage growth since 2000 reflect strong profit growth, much of which may be cyclical, and dramatic income gains for the top 1 percent of wage earners, a development that is more closely related to asset-market performance and technological and institutional innovations rather than conventional trade in goods and services. The minor role of trade, therefore, suggests that any policy that focuses narrowly on trade to deal with wage inequality and job loss is likely to be ineffective. Instead, policymakers should (a) use the tax system to improve income distribution and (b) implement adjustment policies to deal more generally with worker and community dislocation.
|This book is provided by Peterson Institute for International Economics in its series Peterson Institute Press: All Books with number pa85 and published in 2008.|
|Note:||Policy Analyses in International Economics 85|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://bookstore.piie.com/
More information through EDIRC
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iie:ppress:pa85. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Peterson Institute webmaster)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.