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Labour Mobility, Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Redistributive Effects of Trade Integration

  • Carlo Devillanova

    (Bocconi University, Milano, Italy.)

  • Michele Di Maio

    (University of Macerata, Italy.)

  • Pietro Vertova

    (University of Bergamo, Italy.)

This paper addresses the role of mobility costs in shaping the effects of trade integration on wage inequality and welfare. We present a three-factor, two-sector model in which the production technology exhibits capital-skill complementarity and the cost of moving across sectors differs between unskilled and skilled workers. We consider a proportional tax on skilled workers’ wage that is used to finance a re-training program to reduce the mobility costs of unskilled workers. We show that if the training program is sufficiently effective, a positive tax rate can both reduce wage inequalities and reinforce the welfare-enhancing effects of trade integration. In addition we show that, even when the public programme entails some welfare losses, it can make trade integration Pareto superior with respect to autarky.

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Paper provided by KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy in its series KITeS Working Papers with number 188.

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Length: pages 25
Date of creation: Nov 2006
Date of revision: Nov 2006
Handle: RePEc:cri:cespri:wp188
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  1. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2002. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," KITeS Working Papers 129, KITeS, Centre for Knowledge, Internationalization and Technology Studies, Universita' Bocconi, Milano, Italy, revised Mar 2001.
  2. Karnit Flug & Zvi Hercowitz, 2000. "Equipment Investment and the Relative Demand for Skilled Labor: International Evidence," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 3(3), pages 461-485, July.
  3. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & Jose-Victor Rios-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 1997. "Capital-skill complementarity and inequality: a macroeconomic analysis," Staff Report 239, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:2:p:489-530 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. Aghion, Philippe & Howitt, Peter & Violante, Giovanni L, 2002. " General Purpose Technology and Wage Inequality," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 7(4), pages 315-45, December.
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  7. Bresnahan, Timothy F. & Trajtenberg, M., 1995. "General purpose technologies 'Engines of growth'?," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 83-108, January.
  8. Richard R. Nelson & Edmond S. Phelps, 1965. "Investment in Humans, Technological Diffusion and Economic Growth," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 189, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  9. Pinelopi K. Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2004. "Trade, Inequality, and Poverty: What Do We Know? Evidence from Recent Trade Liberalization Episodes in Developing Countries," NBER Working Papers 10593, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  12. Facchini Giovanni & Willmann Gerald, 2001. "Pareto Gains from Trade," Economia politica, Società editrice il Mulino, issue 2, pages 207-216.
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  15. Verhoogen, Eric, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," IZA Discussion Papers 2913, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  16. Elisabetta Magnani, 2001. "Risk of labor displacement and cross-industry labor mobility," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 54(3), pages 593-610, April.
  17. Wacziarg, Romain & Seddon, Jessica, 2000. "Trade Liberalization and Intersectoral Labor Movements," Research Papers 1652, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
  18. Matthew J. Lindquist, 2004. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality Over the Business Cycle," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 7(3), pages 519-540, July.
  19. Ann P. Bartel & Nachum Sicherman, 1999. "Technological Change and Wages: An Interindustry Analysis," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(2), pages 285-325, April.
  20. Bartel, Ann P & Lichtenberg, Frank R, 1987. "The Comparative Advantage of Educated Workers in Implementing New Technology," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(1), pages 1-11, February.
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  22. Carlo Devillanova, 2004. "Interregional migration and labor market imbalances," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 17(2), pages 229-247, 06.
  23. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
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