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Can Interindustry Wage Differentials Justify Strategic Trade Policy?

In: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness

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  • Lawrence F. Katz
  • Lawrence H. Summers

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between labor market imperfections and trade policies. The available evidence suggests that pervasive industry wage differentials of up to 20 percent remain even after controlling for differences in observed measures of workers' skill and the effects of unions. Theoretical analysis indicates that given non-competitive wage differentials of this magnitude policies directed at encouraging employment in high-wage sectors could significantly enhance allocative efficiency. For the United States and other developed countries, such policies are more likely to involve export promotion than import substitution. Increased international trade flows (at least through 1984) have been associated with increased employment in high-wage U.S. manufacturing industries relative to low-wage U.S. manufacturing industries.
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Suggested Citation

  • Lawrence F. Katz & Lawrence H. Summers, 1989. "Can Interindustry Wage Differentials Justify Strategic Trade Policy?," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policies for International Competitiveness, pages 85-124 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:6177
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    1. Kevin M. Murphy & Finis Welch, 1992. "The Structure of Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 285-326.
    2. Harry J. Holzer & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1988. "Job Queues and Wages: New Evidence on the Minimum Wage and Inter-Industry Wage Structure," Working Papers 610, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    3. Harry Holzer & Lawrence Katz & Alan Krueger, 1988. "Job Queues and Wages: New Evidence on the Minimum Wage and Inter-Industry Wage Structure," Working Papers 610, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
    4. Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1987. "The Causes and Consequences of the Dependence of Quality on Price," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 25(1), pages 1-48, March.
    5. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1987. "Inter-Industry Wage Differences and Theories of Wage Determination," NBER Working Papers 2271, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Richard Baldwin & Paul Krugman, 1988. "Industrial Policy and International Competition in Wide-Bodied Jet Aircraft," NBER Chapters,in: Trade Policy Issues and Empirical Analysis, pages 45-78 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Sah, Raaj Kumar & Stiglitz, Joseph E., 1985. "The social cost of labor and project evaluation: A general approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 135-163, November.
    8. Bulow, Jeremy I & Summers, Lawrence H, 1986. "A Theory of Dual Labor Markets with Application to Industrial Policy,Discrimination, and Keynesian Unemployment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 4(3), pages 376-414, July.
    9. William T. Dickens & Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Interindustry Wage Differences and Industry Characteristics," NBER Working Papers 2014, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Harry J. Holzer & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1991. "Job Queues and Wages," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(3), pages 739-768.
    11. Lawrence F. Katz, 1986. "Efficiency Wage Theories: A Partial Evaluation," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1986, Volume 1, pages 235-290 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Shapiro, Carl & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1984. "Equilibrium Unemployment as a Worker Discipline Device," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(3), pages 433-444, June.
    13. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Michael A. Salinger, 1984. "Tobin's q, Unionization, and the Concentration-Profits Relationship," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 15(2), pages 159-170, Summer.
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