IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/boc/bocoec/849.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

International Trade and Income Inequality

Author

Listed:
  • Taiji Furusawa

    (Hitotsubashi University)

  • Hideo Konishi

    () (Boston College)

Abstract

We propose a theory that explains why international trade can widen a wage gap between top income earners and others and cause job polarization. In the basic model, we consider two symmetric countries in which individuals with different abilities work either as knowledge workers, who develop products produced in a differentiated-good sector, or as production workers, who engage in actual production processes. In equilibrium, ex ante symmetric firms post different wages for knowledge workers and hence attract workers with different abilities, creating the firm heterogeneity in product quality. International trade will benefit firms that produce high-quality products and harm firms that produce low-quality products. The relative wage gap between individuals with high ability and those with low ability expands as a result. Indeed, we show that international trade increases the real wages for those with lowest and highest abilities but decreases the real wages for those with intermediate abilities. We also extend the basic model to the one with asymmetric countries and show that income inequality worsens in the smaller or talent-scarce country while it lessens in the talent-abundant country as a result of international trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Taiji Furusawa & Hideo Konishi, 2013. "International Trade and Income Inequality," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 849, Boston College Department of Economics, revised 01 Nov 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:849
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://fmwww.bc.edu/EC-P/wp849.pdf
    File Function: main text
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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, August.
    2. Gene Grossman, 2013. "Heterogeneous workers and international trade," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 149(2), pages 211-245, June.
    3. Krugman, Paul, 1991. "Increasing Returns and Economic Geography," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 99(3), pages 483-499, June.
    4. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    5. Lorenzo Caliendo & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2012. "The Impact of Trade on Organization and Productivity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(3), pages 1393-1467.
    6. 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.
    7. repec:wsi:wschap:9789813224919_0012 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Fairness, Trade, and Inequality," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 12, pages 339-380 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    9. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
    10. Robert E. Lucas Jr., 1978. "On the Size Distribution of Business Firms," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 9(2), pages 508-523, Autumn.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Katsufumi Fukuda, 2013. "The Effect of Globalization in an Endogenous Growth Model with Heterogeneous Firms and Endogenous International Spillovers: Note," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-24, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    2. Katsufumi Fukuda, 2013. "The Effect of Globalization in a Semi Endogenous Growth Model with Firm Heterogeneity, Endogenous International Spillover, and Trade," Discussion Paper Series DP2013-21, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Job polarization; middle-income class; globalization; trade liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:boc:bocoec:849. 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: (Christopher F Baum). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/debocus.html .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.