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Trade, skill-biased technical change and wages in Mexican manufacturing

Listed author(s):
  • Mauro Caselli

This paper analyses and quantifies the effects of trade liberalisation and skill-biased technical change, both exogenous and trade-induced, on the skill premium and real wages of unskilled and skilled workers in theMexican manufacturing sector, using industry- and firm-level data for 1984-1990 from the Encuesta Industrial Anual. The novelty of the paper lies in its strategy for identifying causality, which uses differences across industries over time in the relative price of machinery and equipment in the US as an instrument for skill-biased technical change. The effect of trade-induced SBTC on wages, and especially on wage inequality, appears substantial. The regressions show that trade liberalisation and changes in the relative price of equipment in the US, which induce exogenous SBTC in Mexico, explain one quarter of the increase in relative skilled wages between 1984 and 1990. This rise in the skill premium due to SBTC and trade liberalisation mainly reflect a rise in real skilled wages, although with some specifications it was amplified by a fall in the real wages of unskilled workers.

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Paper provided by Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford in its series CSAE Working Paper Series with number 2010-28.

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Date of creation: 2010
Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-28
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  1. Adriaan Ten Kate, 1989. "Notas Sobre La Apertura Comercial De Mexico, Experiencias Y Lecciones," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE, vol. 8(15), pages 95-111, June.
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