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Globalization And Top Income Shares

  • Lin Ma
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    How does globalization affect the income gaps between the rich and the poor? This paper presents a new piece of empirical evidence showing that access to the global market, either through exporting or through multinational production, is associated with a higher executive-to-worker pay ratio within the firm. It then builds a model with heterogeneous firms, occupational choice, and executive compensation to model analytically and assess quantitatively the impact of globalization on the income gaps between the rich and the poor. The key mechanism is that the “gains from trade” are not distributed evenly within the same firm. The compensation of an executive is positively linked to the size of the firm, while the wage paid to the workers is determined in a country- wide labor market. Any extra profit earned in the foreign markets benefits the executives more than the average worker. Counterfactual exercises suggest that this new channel is quantitatively important for the observed surge in top income shares in the data. Using the changes in the volume of trade and multinational firm sales, the model can explain around 33 percent of the surge in top income shares over the past two decades in the United States.

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    File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2014/CES-WP-14-07.pdf
    File Function: First version, 2014
    Download Restriction: no

    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 14-07.

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    Length: 75 pages
    Date of creation: Feb 2014
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:14-07
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    1. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," NBER Working Papers 12365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Paolo Manasse & Alessandro Turrini, . "Trade, Wages and "Superstars"," Working Papers 140, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
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    13. F. Clementi & M. Gallegati, 2005. "Pareto's Law of Income Distribution: Evidence for Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States," Papers physics/0504217, arXiv.org, revised Mar 2006.
    14. Andrei A. Levchenko & Julian di Giovanni & Romain Ranciere, 2010. "Power Laws in Firm Size and Openness to Trade; Measurement and Implications," IMF Working Papers 10/109, International Monetary Fund.
    15. Faleye, Olubunmi & Reis, Ebru & Venkateswaran, Anand, 2013. "The determinants and effects of CEO–employee pay ratios," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 37(8), pages 3258-3272.
    16. David Hummels, 2007. "Transportation Costs and International Trade in the Second Era of Globalization," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(3), pages 131-154, Summer.
    17. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
    18. Jonathan Vogel & Ariel Burstein, 2012. "International trade, technology, and the skill premium," 2012 Meeting Papers 664, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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