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Monopsonistic Labor Markets and International Trade

Author

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  • Priyaranjan Jha
  • Antonio Rodriguez-Lopez

Abstract

This paper introduces a framework to study the impact of trade liberalization on wage inequality and welfare in the presence of monopsonistic labor markets. The interaction of firm heterogeneity in productivity with idiosyncratic preferences of workers for working at different firms generates between-firm wage inequality for workers with identical skills. The degree of monopsony power is captured by the elasticity of firm-level labor supply, with a lower elasticity implying more wage-setting power by the firm. With more productive firms paying higher wages, monopsony power dampens the impact of firm heterogeneity on the allocation of market shares and allows lower productivity firms to survive. In a closed economy this increases inequality, but in an open economy high levels of monopsony power inhibit exporting, which may reduce inequality by compressing wages on the right side of the distribution. Nevertheless, inequality in the open economy is always higher than in autarky. Monopsony power reduces social welfare (for empirically plausible values of the labor supply elasticity) and the gains from trade.

Suggested Citation

  • Priyaranjan Jha & Antonio Rodriguez-Lopez, 2019. "Monopsonistic Labor Markets and International Trade," CESifo Working Paper Series 7771, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_7771
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    File URL: https://www.cesifo-group.de/DocDL/cesifo1_wp7771.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mario Macis & Fabiano Schivardi, 2016. "Exports and Wages: Rent Sharing, Workforce Composition, or Returns to Skills?," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 34(4), pages 945-978.
    2. Webber, Douglas A., 2015. "Firm market power and the earnings distribution," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 35(C), pages 123-134.
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    4. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    5. Baumgarten, Daniel, 2013. "Exporters and the rise in wage inequality: Evidence from German linked employer–employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 201-217.
    6. Douglas O. Staiger & Joanne Spetz & Ciaran S. Phibbs, 2010. "Is There Monopsony in the Labor Market? Evidence from a Natural Experiment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(2), pages 211-236, April.
    7. Kenneth R. Troske, 1999. "Evidence On The Employer Size-Wage Premium From Worker-Establishment Matched Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 81(1), pages 15-26, February.
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    12. repec:sae:ilrrev:v:71:y:2018:i:3:p:676-704 is not listed on IDEAS
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    14. Green, Francis & Machin, Stephen & Manning, Alan, 1996. "The Employer Size-Wage Effect: Can Dynamic Monopsony Provide an Explanation?," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 48(3), pages 433-455, July.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    monopsonistic labor market; wage inequality; trade liberalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

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