IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Trade Reforms and Wage Inequality in Colombia

  • Attanasio, Orazio
  • Goldberg, Pinelopi
  • Pavcnik, Nina

We investigate the effects of the drastic tariff reductions of the 1980s and 1990s in Colombia on the wage distribution. We identify three main channels through which the wage distribution was affected: increasing returns to college education, changes in industry wages that hurt sectors with initially lower wages and a higher fraction of unskilled workers, and shifts of the labour force towards the informal sector that typically pays lower wages and offers no benefits. Our results suggest that trade policy played a role in each of the above cases. The increase in the skill premium was primarily driven by skilled-biased technological change; however, our evidence suggests, that this change may have been in part motivated by the tariff reductions and the increased foreign competition to which the trade reform exposed domestic producers. With respect to industry wages, we find that wage premiums decreased by more in sectors that experienced larger tariff cuts. Finally, we find some evidence that the increase in the size of the informal sector is related to increased foreign competition – sectors with larger tariff cuts and more trade exposure, as measured by the size their imports, experience a greater increase in informality, though this effect is concentrated in the years prior to the labour market reform. Nevertheless, increasing returns to education, and changes in industry premiums and informality alone cannot fully explain the increase in wage inequality we observe over this period. This suggests that overall the effect of the trade reforms on the wage distribution may have been small.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL: http://www.cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=4023
Download Restriction: CEPR Discussion Papers are free to download for our researchers, subscribers and members. If you fall into one of these categories but have trouble downloading our papers, please contact us at subscribers@cepr.org

As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 4023.

as
in new window

Length:
Date of creation: Aug 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4023
Contact details of provider: Postal: Centre for Economic Policy Research, 77 Bastwick Street, London EC1V 3PZ.
Phone: 44 - 20 - 7183 8801
Fax: 44 - 20 - 7183 8820

Order Information: Email:


References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 6166, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Adriana Kugler, 1999. "The Impact of Firing Costs on Turnover and Unemployment: Evidence from the Colombian Labour Market Reform," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer, vol. 6(3), pages 389-410, August.
  3. James J. Heckman & Carmen Pages, 2000. "The Cost of Job Security Regulation: Evidence from Latin American Labor Markets," NBER Working Papers 7773, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Krishna, Pravin & Mitra, Devashish, 1998. "Trade liberalization, market discipline and productivity growth: new evidence from India," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 447-462, August.
  5. Nina Pavcnik, 2000. "Trade Liberalization, Exit, and Productivity Improvements: Evidence from Chilean Plants," NBER Working Papers 7852, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-50, September.
  8. Roberts, Mark J & Tybout, James R, 1997. "The Decision to Export in Colombia: An Empirical Model of Entry with Sunk Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(4), pages 545-64, September.
  9. John P. Haisken-DeNew & Christoph M. Schmidt, 2000. "Interindustry and Interregion Differentials: Mechanics and Interpretation," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 79(3), pages 516-521, August.
  10. 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.
  11. Alan B. Krueger & Lawrence H. Summers, 1986. "Reflections on the Inter-Industry Wage Structure," NBER Working Papers 1968, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Gene M. Grossman, 1984. "Imports as a Cause of Injury: The Case of the U.S. Steel Industry," NBER Working Papers 1494, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Gene M. Grossman, 1982. "International Competition and the Unionized Sector," NBER Working Papers 0899, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Harrison, Ann E & Leamer, Edward, 1997. "Labor Markets in Developing Countries: An Agenda for Research," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S1-19, July.
  15. Roberts, Mark J. & Tybout, James R., 1991. "Size rationalization and trade exposure in developing countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 594, The World Bank.
  16. Kim, Euysung, 2000. "Trade liberalization and productivity growth in Korean manufacturing industries: price protection, market power, and scale efficiency," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 55-83, June.
  17. Bell, Linda A, 1997. "The Impact of Minimum Wages in Mexico and Colombia," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S102-35, July.
  18. Harrison, Ann & Hanson, Gordon, 1999. "Who gains from trade reform? Some remaining puzzles," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 125-154, June.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2000. "Technical Change, Inequality, and the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 7800, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. Goldberg, Pinelopi Koujianou & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "Trade, Wages and the Political Economy of Trade Protection: Evidence from the Colombian Trade Reforms," CEPR Discussion Papers 3877, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  21. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  22. Mathias Thoenig & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "A Theory of Defensive Skill-Biased Innovation and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 709-728, June.
  23. Ana Fernandes, 2002. "Trade Policy, Trade Volumes and Plant-Level Productivity in Colombian Manufacturing Industries," Working Papers 847, Economic Growth Center, Yale University.
  24. Daron Acemoglu, 1999. "Patterns of Skill Premia," NBER Working Papers 7018, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  25. Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "What explains skill upgrading in less developed countries?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 311-328, August.
  26. André Sapir & Richard Baldwin & Daniel Cohen & Anthony Venables, 1999. "Market integration, regionalism and the global economy," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/8074, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  27. Donald J. Robbins, 1996. "Evidence on Trade and Wages in the Developing World," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 119, OECD Publishing.
  28. Zadia M. Feliciano, 2001. "Workers and trade liberalization: The impact of trade reforms in Mexico on wages and employment," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 55(1), pages 95-115, October.
  29. Noel Gaston & Daniel Trefler, 1994. "Protection, trade, and wages: Evidence from U.S. manufacturing," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 47(4), pages 574-593, July.
  30. Koujianou Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "The response of the informal sector to trade liberalization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 463-496, December.
  31. Revenga, Ana, 1997. "Employment and Wage Effects of Trade Liberalization: The Case of Mexican Manufacturing," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S20-43, July.
  32. Dani Rodrik, 1988. "Closing the Technology Gap: Does Trade Liberalization Really Help?," NBER Working Papers 2654, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  33. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1995. "Foreign Direct Investment and Relative Wages: Evidence from Mexico's Maquiladoras," NBER Working Papers 5122, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  34. Krueger, Alan B & Summers, Lawrence H, 1988. "Efficiency Wages and the Inter-industry Wage Structure," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 56(2), pages 259-93, March.
  35. Cragg, Michael Ian & Epelbaum, Mario, 1996. "Why has wage dispersion grown in Mexico? Is it the incidence of reforms or the growing demand for skills?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 99-116, October.
  36. Revenga, Ana L, 1992. "Exporting Jobs? The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-84, February.
  37. Adrian Wood, 1995. "How Trade Hurt Unskilled Workers," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 57-80, Summer.
  38. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  39. Wood, Adrian, 1997. "Openness and Wage Inequality in Developing Countries: The Latin American Challenge to East Asian Conventional Wisdom," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 33-57, January.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:4023. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.