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Trade, Technology and Labour Markets: Empirical Controversies in the Light of the Jones Model


  • Michael Pflüger


The deterioration of the income and employment position of unskilled workers in the OECD since the 1980s is a well-documented fact. The debate about the causes of this development is dominated by two competing hypotheses, "North-South Trade" ("globalisation") and technological progress. Several empirical methodologies have been used to identify and quantify the importance of these two explanations: factor content analyses, consistency checks, regression analyses and numerical methods. However, no consensus has been achieved so far and there is considerable methodological controversy. This paper uses Jones's (1965) exposition of the standard trade model as analytical backbone to identify and settle the sources of disagreement, to provide a synthesis of existing results, to derive new insights, and to provide a comprehensive assessment of the aforementioned empirical methodologies.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Pflüger, 2003. "Trade, Technology and Labour Markets: Empirical Controversies in the Light of the Jones Model," Discussion Papers of DIW Berlin 328, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:diw:diwwpp:dp328

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. R. E. Baldwin & G. G. Cain, "undated". "Shifts in U.S. Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Factor Endowments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1132-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    2. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
    3. Robert E. Baldwin, 2001. "Inferring Relative Factor Price Changes from Quantitative Data," NBER Chapters,in: Topics in Empirical International Economics: A Festschrift in Honor of Robert E. Lipsey, pages 47-70 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Robert Z. Lawrence & Carolyn L. Evans, 1996. "Trade and Wages: Insights from the Crystal Ball," NBER Working Papers 5633, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Abrego, Lisandro & Whalley, John, 2000. "The Choice of Structural Model in Trade-Wages Decompositions," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 462-477, August.
    7. Damien NEVEN. & Charles WYPLOSZ, 1996. "Relative Prices, Trade and Restructuring in European Industry," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9615, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
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    More about this item


    North-South Trade; Technology; Wage Inequality; Unemployment;

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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