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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. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen Redding, . "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," Working Paper 28442, Harvard University OpenScholar.
    2. Mayer, Thierry & Melitz, Marc J. & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I. P., 2014. "Market Size, Competition, and the Product Mix of Exporters," Scholarly Articles 12330897, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    3. Giulia Faggio & Kjell G. Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2007. "The evolution of inequality in productivity and wages: panel data evidence," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 4558, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
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    7. Jonathan Vogel & Arnaud Costinot, 2008. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," 2008 Meeting Papers 879, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Alla Lileeva & Daniel Trefler, 2007. "Improved Access to Foreign Markets Raises Plant-Level Productivity ... for Some Plants," NBER Working Papers 13297, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Xavier Gabaix & Augustin Landier, 2006. "Why Has CEO Pay Increased So Much?," NBER Working Papers 12365, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Monte, Ferdinando, 2009. "Skill Bias, Trade, and Wage Dispersion," MPRA Paper 14719, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEP Discussion Papers dp0940, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    12. Paula Bustos, 2009. "Trade Liberalization, Exports and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinean Firms," 2009 Meeting Papers 1029, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    14. 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.
    15. 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.
    16. Erzo G. J. Luttmer, 2007. "Selection, Growth, and the Size Distribution of Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 122(3), pages 1103-1144.
    17. 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.
    18. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Arnaud Costinot, 2009. "An Elementary Theory of Comparative Advantage," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(4), pages 1165-1192, 07.
    20. 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.
    21. 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.
    22. Lentz, Rasmus, 2010. "Sorting by search intensity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 145(4), pages 1436-1452, July.
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