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Trade and Towns: Heterogeneous Adjustment to a Border Shock

Listed author(s):
  • Brülhart, Marius
  • Carrère, Céline
  • Robert-Nicoud, Frédéric

We study the effects of changes in trade openness on wages and employment of different-sized towns. To this end, we develop a multi-region model of intra-national adjustment to trade shocks. In equilibrium, small towns have more elastic labor-force responses than large towns. We test this prediction using fine-grained regional data for Austria and the fall of the Iron Curtain as a quasi-experimental setting for the exploration of trade-induced spatial effects. We find improved access to foreign markets to boost both employment and nominal wages, but large towns tend to have larger wage responses and smaller employment responses than small towns. The welfare gains of immobile factors are estimated to be 40% higher in border towns compared to interior towns.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 10886.

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Date of creation: Oct 2015
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10886
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