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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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    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
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:cep:cepdps:dp1152
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    13. Jan Eeckhout & Philipp Kircher, 2011. "Identifying Sorting--In Theory," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(3), pages 872-906.
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    18. 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.
    19. 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.
    20. 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.
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