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Trade Induced Technical Bias and Wage Inequalities: A Theory of Defensive Innovation

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  • Mathias Thoenig

    (INSEE)

Abstract

This paper considers a dynamic North South model of international trade and innovations in which firms can endogenously bias the direction of technological change. We show that, when there is a differential degree of protection of property rights between the two regions, innovating firms face a trade-off between delocalization in the South and more secure property rights in the North. For a certain range of products, the optimal response to this tradeoff is the emergence of endogenous technological bias towards skilled labour technologies. We discuss the implications of this trade induced technological bias on the dynamics of international trade and relative wages in the two regions. For some configurations of parameters, the model is able to generate, along the transition path, an increase in wage inequalities in both regions and skill upgrading of southern production compatible with small changes in import penetration rates in North.
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Suggested Citation

  • Mathias Thoenig, 2000. "Trade Induced Technical Bias and Wage Inequalities: A Theory of Defensive Innovation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1931, Econometric Society.
  • Handle: RePEc:ecm:wc2000:1931
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    Cited by:

    1. Mathias Thoenig & Thierry Verdier, 2003. "A Theory of Defensive Skill-Biased Innovation and Globalization," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 709-728, June.
    2. Koeniger, Winfried, 2002. "Defensive Innovations," IZA Discussion Papers 454, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    3. Paulo Bastos & Odd Rune Straume, 2012. "Globalization, product differentiation, and wage inequality," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 45(3), pages 857-878, August.
    4. Neary, J Peter, 2002. "Foreign Competition and Wage Inequality," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(4), pages 680-693, November.
    5. Gancia, Gino & Zilibotti, Fabrizio, 2005. "Horizontal Innovation in the Theory of Growth and Development," Handbook of Economic Growth,in: Philippe Aghion & Steven Durlauf (ed.), Handbook of Economic Growth, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 111-170 Elsevier.
    6. J. Peter Neary, 2001. "Competition, trade and wages," Working Papers 200020, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
    7. Patrick Artus, 2006. "Intégration commerciale avec des pays émergents ayant des ressources importantes en main-d'œuvre qualifiée. Quels effets pour les pays européens ?," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 57(4), pages 673-704.
    8. Maurin, Eric & Thesmar, David & Thoenig, Mathias, 2002. "Globalization and the demand for skill: An Export Based Channel," CEPR Discussion Papers 3406, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Koeniger, Winfried, 2001. "Trade, Labor Market Rigidities, and Government-Financed Technological Change," IZA Discussion Papers 241, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D33 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Factor Income Distribution
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • O33 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Technological Change: Choices and Consequences; Diffusion Processes

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