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

  • 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
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Handle: RePEc:csa:wpaper:2010-28
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  1. Meschi, Elena & Taymaz, Erol & Vivarelli, Marco, 2011. "Trade, technology and skills: Evidence from Turkish microdata," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(S1), pages S60-S70.
  2. Verhoogen, Eric A, 2007. "Trade, Quality Upgrading and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 6385, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
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  8. Andrew B. Bernard & Stephen Redding & Peter K. Schott, 2006. "Multi-product firms and trade liberalization," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3684, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  9. Esquivel, Gerardo & Rodriguez-Lopez, Jose Antonio, 2003. "Technology, trade, and wage inequality in Mexico before and after NAFTA," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 543-565, December.
  10. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
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  13. Gustavo Gonzaga & Naércio Menezes Filho & Maria Cristina Terra, 2005. "Trade liberalization and the evolution of skill earnings differentials in Brazil," Textos para discussão 503, Department of Economics PUC-Rio (Brazil).
  14. Adriaan Ten Kate, 1989. "Notas Sobre La Apertura Comercial De Mexico, Experiencias Y Lecciones," ENSAYOS SOBRE POLÍTICA ECONÓMICA, BANCO DE LA REPÚBLICA - ESPE.
  15. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Berman, Eli & Machin, Stephen, 2000. "Skill-Based Technology Transfer around the World," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 12-22, Autumn.
  17. 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.
  18. Gonzague Vannoorenberghe, 2011. "Trade between symmetric countries, heterogeneous firms, and the skill premium," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 148-170, February.
  19. Anderson, Edward, 2005. "Openness and inequality in developing countries: A review of theory and recent evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(7), pages 1045-1063, July.
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