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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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    8. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen Redding, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," CEP Discussion Papers dp1138, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
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    12. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    13. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," 2006 Meeting Papers 518, Society for Economic Dynamics.
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    17. Amiti, Mary & Davis, Donald R, 2008. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," CEPR Discussion Papers 6872, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    18. 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.
    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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