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Trade and wage inequality: Local versus Global comparative advantages

Author

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  • Alessia Matano
  • Paolo Naticchioni

    () (Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome Italy)

Abstract

This paper shows that disentangling the local and global dimensions of trade can be crucial to get a better understanding of the trade impact on wage inequality. In particular, it allows us to reconcile the empirical evidence with the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson predictions. Our focus here is on Italy, which represents, in our opinion, an appropriate case study. As for local trade -within its own cone of diversification - Italy is specialized in the production of unskill-intensive goods, while for global trade -with respect to the other cone of diversification- it is mainly specialized in the production of skill-intensive goods. On the evidence of these specialization patterns, we point out that the local trade entails a strong impact on wage inequality. In particular, in line with the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson predictions, the local export performance reduces wage inequality since it favours blue-collar workers. As for global trade, it affects and increases wage inequality through the export channel, again consistently with the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson predictions.

Suggested Citation

  • Alessia Matano & Paolo Naticchioni, 2008. "Trade and wage inequality: Local versus Global comparative advantages," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 6-DEISFOL, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2008.
  • Handle: RePEc:des:wpaper:12
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    Cited by:

    1. Alessia Matano & Paolo Naticchioni, 2009. "Wage distribution and the spatial sorting of workers and firms," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 8-DEISFOL, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2009.
    2. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci & Emiliano Rustichelli, 2008. "Wage Inequality, Employment Structure and Skill-biased Change in Italy," LABOUR, CEIS, vol. 22(s1), pages 27-51, June.
    3. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2017. "Competition, firm size and returns to skills: Evidence from currency shocks and market liberalisations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2676-2703, December.
    4. Rafal Kierzenkowski & Isabell Koske, 2012. "Less Income Inequality and More Growth – Are they Compatible? Part 8. The Drivers of Labour Income Inequality – A Literature Review," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 931, OECD Publishing.
    5. Accetturo, Antonio & Bugamelli, Matteo & Lamorgese, Andrea R., 2013. "Skill upgrading and exports," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 121(3), pages 417-420.
    6. Paolo Naticchioni & Andrea Ricci, 2009. "Decreasing Wage Inequality in Italy: The Role of Supply and Demand for Education," Working Papers - Dipartimento di Economia 9-DEISFOL, Dipartimento di Economia, Sapienza University of Rome, revised 2009.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Trade Specialization; Wage Inequality; Skill Premium;

    JEL classification:

    • F14 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Empirical Studies of Trade
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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