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Labor Adjustment And Gradual Reform: Is Commitment Important?


  • Karp, Larry S.
  • Paul, Thierry


We analyze a model in which a government uses a second best policy to affect the reallocation of labor, following a change in relative prices. We consider two extreme cases, in which the government has either unlimited or negligible ability to commit to future actions. We explain why the ability to make commitments may be unimportant, and we illustrate this conjecture with numerical examples. For either assumption about commitment ability, the equilibrium policy involves gradual liberalization. The dying sector is protected during the transition to a free market, in order to decrease the amount of unemployment Our results are sensitive to the assumptions about migration.

Suggested Citation

  • Karp, Larry S. & Paul, Thierry, 1994. "Labor Adjustment And Gradual Reform: Is Commitment Important?," Working Papers 51222, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iatrwp:51222

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Lapan, Harvey E, 1976. "International Trade, Factor Market Distortions, and the Optimal Dynamic Subsidy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 66(3), pages 335-346, June.
    2. Bofinger, Peter & Cernohorsky, Ivan, 1992. "Some Lessons from Economic Transformation in East Germany," CEPR Discussion Papers 686, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Chari, V V & Kehoe, Patrick J, 1990. "Sustainable Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(4), pages 783-802, August.
    4. Lapan, Harvey E, 1978. "International Trade, Factor-Market Distortions, and the Optimal Dynamic Subsidy: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 956-959, December.
    5. David Begg & Richard Portes, 1993. "Eastern Germany since unification: wage subsidies remain a better way," The Economics of Transition, The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, vol. 1(4), pages 383-400, December.
    6. George A. Akerlof & Andrew K. Rose & Janet L. Yellen & Helga Hessenius, 1991. "East Germany in from the Cold: The Economic Aftermath of Currency Union," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 1-106.
    7. Cassing, James H & Ochs, Jack, 1978. "International Trade, Factor-Market Distortions, and the Optimal Dynamic Subsidy: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 68(5), pages 950-955, December.
    8. V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1993. "Sustainable Plans and Mutual Default," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 175-195.
    9. Abel, István & Bonin, John, 1992. "The `Big Bang' Versus `Slow but Steady': A Comparison of the Hungarian and the Polish Transformations," CEPR Discussion Papers 626, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1990. "Perfect Equilibria in a Trade Liberalization Game," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 80(3), pages 480-492, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Karp, Larry, 1995. "The Direction and Timing of Agricultural Trade Refonn in Central and East Europe," Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley, Working Paper Series qt9z61f67x, Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, UC Berkeley.

    More about this item


    adjustment costs; dynamic tariffs; time inconsistency; Markov perfection; Labor and Human Capital;

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity


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