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Relative Wages and Trade-Induced Changes in Technology

  • Ekholm, Karolina
  • Ulltveit-Moe, Karen-Helene

We develop a model where trade liberalization leads to skill-biased technological change, which in turn raises the relative return to skilled labour. As firms get access to a larger market, they have incentives to choose a more skill-intensive technology because a lowering of variable costs requires additional use of skilled labour. This way, we establish a link between trade, technology and relative returns to skilled and unskilled labour. Moreover, we show that as market integration continues and trade costs fall below a certain threshold, the relative return to skilled labour may fall.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 2677.

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Date of creation: Jan 2001
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2677
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  1. Neary, J Peter, 2002. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3420, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. 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.
  3. Falvey, Rod & Reed, Geoff, 2000. "Trade Liberalization and Technology Choice," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 409-19, August.
  4. Wood, Adrian, 1998. "Globalisation and the Rise in Labour Market Inequalities," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1463-82, September.
  5. Dinopoulos, Elias & Segerstrom, Paul, 1996. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," Working Paper Series 471, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
  6. 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.
  7. Burda, Michael C. & Dluhosch, Barbara, 2001. "Cost competition, fragmentation and globalization," SFB 373 Discussion Papers 2001,40, Humboldt University of Berlin, Interdisciplinary Research Project 373: Quantification and Simulation of Economic Processes.
  8. 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.
  9. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony, 1996. "The role of multinational firms in the wage-gap debate," Discussion Papers, Series II 322, University of Konstanz, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB) 178 "Internationalization of the Economy".
  10. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Patterns of Skill Premia," NBER Working Papers 7018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. J. Peter Neary, 2000. "Competition, Trade and Wages," Working Papers 200020, School Of Economics, University College Dublin.
  12. Greenaway, David & Hine, Robert C. & Wright, Peter, 1999. "An empirical assessment of the impact of trade on employment in the United Kingdom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 485-500, September.
  13. Paul, Catherine J Morrison & Siegel, Donald S, 2001. " The Impacts of Technology, Trade and Outsourcing on Employment and Labor Composition," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 103(2), pages 241-64, June.
  14. Burda, Michael C & Dluhosch, Barbara, 1998. "Globalization and European Labour Markets," CEPR Discussion Papers 1992, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. Jonathan Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Trade, Technology and U.K. Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 6978, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Paul Krugman & Robert Lawrence, 1993. "Trade, Jobs, and Wages," NBER Working Papers 4478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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