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Trade, Technology and UK Wage Inequality

  • Haskel, Jonathan
  • Slaughter, Matthew

The U.K. skill premium fell from the 1950s to the late 1970s and then rose very sharply. This paper examines the contributions to these relative wage movements of international trade and technical change. We first measure trade as changes in product prices and technical change as TFP growth. Then we relate price and TFP changes to a set of underlying factors. Among a number of results, we find that changes in prices, not TFP, were the major force behind the rise in inequality in the 1980s. We also find that although increased trade pressure has raised technical change, its effect on wage inequality was not quantitatively significant.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2091.

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Date of creation: Mar 1999
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2091
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  1. Neven, Damien J & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Relative Prices, Trade and Restructuring in European Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 1451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-82, September.
  3. Baldwin, Robert E & Cain, Glen C, 1997. "Shifts in US Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology and Factor Endowments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1596, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Nickell, S.J., 1993. "Competition and Crporate Performance," Economics Series Working Papers 99155, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  5. Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  6. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  7. Haskel, Jonathan, 1991. "Imperfect Competition, Work Practices and Productivity Growth," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 53(3), pages 265-79, August.
  8. Berman, Eli & Bound, John & Griliches, Zvi, 1994. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufactures," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 109(2), pages 367-97, May.
  9. Haskel, Jonathan & Slaughter, Matthew, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1940, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  11. Hakura, D. & Deardorff, A.V., 1993. "Trade and Wages: What Are the Questions?," Working Papers 341, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  12. Wood Júnior, Thomaz, 1995. "Workers," RAE - Revista de Administração de Empresas, FGV-EAESP Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo (Brazil), vol. 35(2), January.
  13. Edward E. Leamer & James Levinsohn, 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4940, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-54, December.
  15. Paul Geroski & Steve Machin & John Van Reenen, 1993. "The Profitability of Innovating Firms," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 24(2), pages 198-211, Summer.
  16. Machin, Steve, 1994. "Changes in the Relative Demand for Skills in the UK Labour Market," CEPR Discussion Papers 952, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "In Search of Stolper-Samuelson Effects on U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 5427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, March.
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