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Short and Long Run Decomposition of OECD Wage Inequality Changes

  • Edwards, T Huw

    (University of Warwick)

  • John Whalley

This paper focuses on the decomposition of increased wage inequality in OECD countries into the component factors of trade surges in low wage products and technological change. It argues that if the observed wage inequality response to price and technology shocks represents a short run response in which factors and output have not adjusted fully across industries, then decomposition analysis is substantially altered relative to a long-run factors mobile world. This applies either when one type of labour has mobility costs or where there is an additional, sectorally immobile factor. Only small departures from the fully mobile model can greatly change decompositions. Previous general equilibrium based studies have assumed a long-run full mobility response, when this may not be the case, and may consequently have drawn incorrect conclusions.

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Paper provided by Royal Economic Society in its series Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2003 with number 72.

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Date of creation: 04 Jun 2003
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Handle: RePEc:ecj:ac2003:72
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  1. Leamer, E. & Levingsohn, J., 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," Working Papers 368, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  2. M. Ayhan Kose & Raymond Riezman, 1999. "Understanding the Welfare Implications of Preferential Trade Agreements," CSGR Working papers series 45/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  3. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1974. "Short-Run and Long-Run Equilibrium for a Small Open Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 955-67, Sept./Oct.
  5. Neven, Damien J & Wyplosz, Charles, 1996. "Relative Prices, Trade and Restructuring in European Industry," CEPR Discussion Papers 1451, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Davis, Donald R., 1998. "Technology, unemployment, and relative wages in a global economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1613-1633, November.
  7. Lisandro Abrego & John Whalley, 1999. "The Choice of Structural Model in Trade-Wages Decompositions," CSGR Working papers series 34/99, Centre for the Study of Globalisation and Regionalisation (CSGR), University of Warwick.
  8. Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 6565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Globalisation and Wages: A Tale of Two Perspectives," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 609-629, 07.
  10. Neary, J Peter, 1978. "Short-Run Capital Specificity and the Pure Theory of International Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 88(351), pages 488-510, September.
  11. Haynes, Michelle & Upward, Richard & Wright, Peter, 2000. "Smooth and Sticky Adjustment: A Comparative Analysis of the US and UK," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 517-32, August.
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