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Victims of Progress: Economic Integration, Specialization and Wages for Unskilled Labour

  • Francois, Joseph
  • Nelson, Doug R

In this paper we demonstrate that intra-industry trade (or FDI) between identical countries could produce the observed deterioration in the relative wages of unskilled workers. This involves a model of North-North integration through either increased trade flows or increased MNE-based production. Our motivation in this regard is a series of arguments to the effect that trade cannot be responsible for the observed labour market trends because trade with developing countries is quantitatively too small to have significant labour market effects. We also introduce a relatively unexploited class of model that possesses attractive properties with respect to the explicit incorporation of firm-theoretic considerations in trade models.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2527.

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Date of creation: Aug 2000
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2527
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  1. James R. Markusen, 1995. "The Boundaries of Multinational Enterprises and the Theory of International Trade," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 169-189, Spring.
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  4. John M. Abowd & Thomas Lemieux, 1991. "The Effects of International Competition on Collective Bargaining Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 343-367 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  6. Ethier, Wilfred J. & Markusen, James R., 1996. "Multinational firms, technology diffusion and trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(1-2), pages 1-28, August.
  7. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "A Simple Theory of International Trade with Multinational Corporations," Scholarly Articles 3445092, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Krugman, Paul, 1980. "Scale Economies, Product Differentiation, and the Pattern of Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(5), pages 950-59, December.
  9. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J., 1998. "Multinational firms and the new trade theory," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 183-203, December.
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  11. Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "Industrial Wage and Employment Determination in an Open Economy," NBER Chapters, in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 235-259 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Markusen, James R & Venables, Anthony J, 1997. "The Role of Multinational Firms in the Wage-Gap Debate," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 5(4), pages 435-51, November.
  14. Dixit, Avinash K & Stiglitz, Joseph E, 1975. "Monopolistic Competition and Optimum Product Diversity," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 64, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  15. Brian Aitken & Ann Harrison & Robert E. Lipsey, 1995. "Wages and Foreign Ownership: A Comparative Study of Mexico, Venezuela and the United States," NBER Working Papers 5102, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Joseph F. Francois & Douglas Nelson, 2002. "A Geometry Of Specialisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(481), pages 649-678, July.
  17. Robert E. Lipsey, 1994. "Foreign-Owned Firms and U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 4927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. S. Lael Brainard, 1993. "A Simple Theory of Multinational Corporations and Trade with a Trade-Off Between Proximity and Concentration," NBER Working Papers 4269, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  21. Joseph F. Francois, 1990. "Trade in Producer Services and Returns Due to Specialization under Monopolistic Competition," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 23(1), pages 109-24, February.
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  23. Francois, Joseph F, 1990. "Producer Services, Scale, and the Division of Labor," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 715-29, October.
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  27. Jones, Ronald W & Dei, Fumio, 1983. "International Trade and Foreign Investment: A Simple Model," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 21(4), pages 449-64, October.
  28. Romer, Paul M, 1987. "Growth Based on Increasing Returns Due to Specialization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(2), pages 56-62, May.
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  35. Markusen, James R., 1984. "Multinationals, multi-plant economies, and the gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 205-226, May.
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  38. Gaston, Noel & Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "Union wage sensitivity to trade and protection: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 1-25, August.
  39. Peter Gottschalk & Timothy M. Smeeding, 1997. "Cross-National Comparisons of Earnings and Income Inequality," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 35(2), pages 633-687, June.
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  41. Helpman, Elhanan, 1985. "Multinational Corporations and Trade Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(3), pages 443-57, July.
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