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Understanding Wage Inequality - Trade, Technology, and Location


  • Chul Chung

    (Korea Institute for International Economic Policy)

  • Bonggeun Kim


This paper investigates the trend of the wage inequality and the metropolitan wage premium in the United States during the 1980s. Two distinct sets of literature documented that the wage inequality between skilled and unskilled workers and the metropolitan wage premium have risen significantly during the decade. When we combine these two sets of evidence and consider the interaction between skill and location, however, the increasing trends of the skill wage gap and the metropolitan wage premium almost disappear. Most of the dynamic changes are picked up by the interaction term, an extra metropolitan wage premium for skill, which rises significantly over the decade. As a partial explanation we find an increasing trend of the skill wage inequality across industries and occupations within metropolitan areas relative to non-metropolitan areas. This finding suggests that the skill biased technology alone may not sufficiently explain the growing wage inequality and it can be interpreted as a metropolitan specific phenomenon to an extent.

Suggested Citation

  • Chul Chung & Bonggeun Kim, 2007. "Understanding Wage Inequality - Trade, Technology, and Location," Labor Economics Working Papers 22043, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:laborw:22043

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Wolfgang F. Stolper & Paul A. Samuelson, 1941. "Protection and Real Wages," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 9(1), pages 58-73.
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    Cited by:

    1. Anwar, Sajid & Sun, Sizhong, 2012. "Trade liberalisation, market competition and wage inequality in China's manufacturing sector," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(4), pages 1268-1277.

    More about this item


    Wage inequality; Skill premium; Metropolitan areas; globalization;

    JEL classification:

    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions


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