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Trade and Labor Market Outcomes

  • Elhanan Helpman
  • Oleg Itskhoki
  • Stephen Redding

This paper reviews a new framework for analyzing the interrelationship between inequality, unemployment, labor market frictions, and foreign trade. This framework emphasizes firm heterogeneity and search and matching frictions in labor markets. It implies that the opening of trade may raise inequality and unemployment, but always raises welfare. Unilateral reductions in labor market frictions increase a country's welfare, can raise or reduce its unemployment rate, yet always hurt the country's trade partner. Unemployment benefits can alleviate the distortions in a country's labor market in some cases but not in others, but they can never implement the constrained Pareto optimal allocation. We characterize the set of optimal policies, which require interventions in product and labor markets.

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Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1028.

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Date of creation: Dec 2010
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1028
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  1. Menezes Filho, N. A. & Menezes Filho, N. A., 2007. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, With a Comparison to France and the United States," Insper Working Papers wpe_78, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  2. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
  3. Oi, Walter Y. & Idson, Todd L., 1999. "Firm size and wages," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 33, pages 2165-2214 Elsevier.
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  7. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Munich Reprints in Economics 20471, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  8. Orazio Attanasio & Pinelopi Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2003. "Trade Reforms and Wage Inequiality in Colombia," NBER Working Papers 9830, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Defever, Fabrice & Toubal, Farid, 2011. "Productivity, Relationship-Specific Inputs and the Sourcing Modes of Multinationals," CEPR Discussion Papers 8656, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Stephen Nickell & Luca Nunziata & Wolfgang Ochel & Glenda Quintini, 2001. "The Beveridge curve, unemployment and wages in the OECD from the 1960s to the 1990s - preliminary version," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20113, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Olivier Blanchard & Justin Wolfers, 1999. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," NBER Working Papers 7282, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Pol Antràs & Elhanan Helpman, 2003. "Global Sourcing," NBER Working Papers 10082, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, 07.
  14. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2007. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labour Market Effects of Trade Liberalisation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2000, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. Amiti, Mary & Davis, Donald R, 2008. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  16. Arthur J. Hosios, 1990. "On The Efficiency of Matching and Related Models of Search and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 57(2), pages 279-298.
  17. Filho, Naerico Aquino Menezes & Muendler, Marc-Andreas & Ramey, Garey, 2006. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, With a Comparison to France and the United States," University of California at San Diego, Economics Working Paper Series qt8pr105rg, Department of Economics, UC San Diego.
  18. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1988. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models with Frictional Unemployment," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 96(6), pages 1267-93, December.
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  20. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
  21. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. "Fair Wages in the Open Economy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(247), pages 335-51, August.
  22. Kreickemeier, Udo & Nelson, Douglas, 2006. "Fair wages, unemployment and technological change in a global economy," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(2), pages 451-469, December.
  23. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
  24. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
  25. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  26. Richard A. Brecher, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116.
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