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Economic Integration, Factor Mobility, and Wage Convergence

  • Saint-Paul, G.

This paper studies the effect of economic integration of two regions on the mobility of skilled and unskilled workers across regions and on the resulting location of industrial activity. In particular, it studies what happens when wages in both regions are set by the unions of the ‘West’ – the region with a greater initial relative stock of human capital. We show that in some circumstances, it is in the interest of the West’s unions to set a speed of wage convergence greater than equilibrium, thereby generating unemployment in the ‘East’. This slows the migration of human capital towards the East, but quickens the migration of raw labour towards the West. A greater share of economic activity is eventually located in the western region. Unions in the West will benefit from this, provided human capital has low migration costs relative to raw labour.

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Paper provided by DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure) in its series DELTA Working Papers with number 97-01.

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Date of creation: 1997
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Publication status: Published in International Tax and Public Finance, 4, pp. 291-306, 1997 ; reprinted in Assaf Razin and Efraim Sadka, editors, The Economics of Globalization, Cambridge U. Press, 1999, pp. 313-332
Handle: RePEc:del:abcdef:97-01
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  1. Pissarides, Christopher A & McMaster, Ian, 1990. "Regional Migration, Wages and Unemployment: Empirical Evidence and Implications for Policy," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 42(4), pages 812-31, October.
  2. Gabriel, Stuart A. & Shack-Marquez, Janice & Wascher, William L., 1993. "Does migration arbitrage regional labor market differentials?," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 211-233, April.
  3. Jean-Pierre DANTHINE & Jennifer HUNT, 1992. "Wage Bargaining Structure, Employment and Economic Integration," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9204, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  4. Burda, Michael & Wyplosz, Charles, 1992. "Human capital, investment and migration in an integrated Europe," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(2-3), pages 677-684, April.
  5. Decressin, Jörg & Fatás, Antonio, 1994. "Regional Labour Market Dynamics in Europe," CEPR Discussion Papers 1085, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Michael Burda & Michael Funke, 1993. "German trade unions after unification — Third degree wage discriminating monopolists?," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 537-560, September.
  7. Manfred Keil & Andrew Newell, 1993. "Internal migration and unemployment in Germany: An anglo-irish perspective," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer, vol. 129(3), pages 514-536, September.
  8. Rachel M. Friedberg & J. Hunt, 1995. "The Impact of Immigrants on Host Country Wages, Employment and Growth," Working Papers 95-5, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  9. Schmidt, Christoph M. & Stilz, Anette & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 1994. "Mass migration, unions, and government intervention," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(2), pages 185-201, October.
  10. Rudiger Dornbusch & Holger Wolf, 1992. "Economic Transition in Eastern Germany," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 235-272.
  11. Gerlinde Sinn & Hans-Werner Sinn, 1994. "Jumpstart: The Economic Unification of Germany," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262691728, June.
  12. Brecher, Richard A. & Choudhri, Ehsan U., 1987. "International migration versus foreign investment in the presence of unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(3-4), pages 329-342, November.
  13. Klaus F. Zimmermann, 1995. "Tackling the European Migration Problems," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 45-62, Spring.
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