Globalization and Income Distribution: A Specific Factors Continuum Approach
Does globalization widen inequality or increase income risk? Globalization amplifies the effect of idiosyncratic relative productivity shocks. But wider markets reduce the effect of economy-wide supply shocks on world prices. Both forces are at work in the specific factors continuum model of this paper. Ex post equilibrium exhibits positive (negative) premia for export (import-competing) sector specific factors. Globalization widens inequality in North and South. Globalization increases personal income risk from idiosyncratic productivity shocks, but reduces aggregate shock risk acting on the factoral terms of trade. Both forces have their greatest impact on the poorest and least impact for the richest trading sectors, while the distribution in nontraded sectors is unaffected.
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