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Selection into Trade and Wage Inequality

  • Thomas Sampson
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    This paper analyzes the impact of trade integration on wage inequality when there is heterogeneity across both workers and firms. By incorporating labor assignment into the heterogeneous firms literature I develop a model in which positive assortative matching between worker skill and firm technology explains the employer size-wage premium and the exporter wage premium. Under trade, fixed export costs cause the selection of high productivity, high skill firms into exporting and an upwards shift in the firm technology distribution. Consequently, the demand for skill and wage inequality increase in all countries, both on aggregate and within the export sector. This result holds both when firms' technologies are determined by a random draw and when technology is endogenous to firm level R&D. With endogenous technology, the increased demand for skill caused by trade liberalization results from technology upgrading by new exporters.

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    File URL: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/pubs/download/dp1152.pdf
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    Paper provided by Centre for Economic Performance, LSE in its series CEP Discussion Papers with number dp1152.

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    Date of creation: Jun 2012
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    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1152
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cep.lse.ac.uk/_new/publications/series.asp?prog=CEP

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    1. Philipp Kircher & Jan Eeckhout, 2009. "Identifying Sorting, In Theory," 2009 Meeting Papers 581, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen J., 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Thierry Mayer & Marc J. Melitz & Gianmarco Ottaviano, 2011. "Market size, competition, and the product mix of exporters," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/c8dmi8nm4pd, Sciences Po.
    4. Schank, Thorsten & Schnabel, Claus & Wagner, Joachim, 2007. "Do exporters really pay higher wages? First evidence from German linked employer-employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 52-74, May.
    5. Giulia Faggio & Kjell Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2007. "The Evolution of Inequality in Productivity and Wages: Panel Data Evidence," NBER Working Papers 13351, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    7. Esteban Rossi-Hansberg & Pol Antras & Luis Garicano, 2005. "Offshoring in a Knowledge Economy," 2005 Meeting Papers 196, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade liberalization, exports and technology upgrading: Evidence on the impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean firms," Economics Working Papers 1173, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra.
    9. 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, 08.
    10. Arnaud Costinot, 2009. "An Elementary Theory of Comparative Advantage," NBER Working Papers 14645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2009. "Labor Market Rigidities, Trade, and Unemployment," CEPR Discussion Papers 7502, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Franziska Ohnsorge & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Sorting It Out: International Trade with Heterogeneous Workers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115(5), pages 868-892, October.
    13. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2008. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 123(1), pages 49-100, 02.
    14. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," NBER Working Papers 17991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    15. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
    16. Lentz, Rasmus, 2010. "Sorting by search intensity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1436-1452, July.
    17. Monte, Ferdinando, 2009. "Skill Bias, Trade, and Wage Dispersion," MPRA Paper 14719, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Paula Bustos, 2005. "The impact of trade liberalization on skill upgrading. Evidence from Argentina," Economics Working Papers 1189, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Jul 2011.
    19. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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