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Trade and the skill premium in developing countries: the role of intermediate goods and some evidence from Peru

  • Joy Mazumdar
  • Myriam Quispe-Agnoli

The rise in income inequality in developing countries after trade liberalization has been a puzzle for trade theory, which predicts the opposite effect. The authors present a model with imported intermediate goods in which the relative wages of skilled labor can rise due to higher imports of inputs or due to skill-biased technological change. The evidence from Peru in the post-liberalization phase in the early 1990s supports the skilled-biased technological change hypothesis. The authors find that most of the decrease in the blue-collar wage share in the manufacturing industries can be explained by the increase in machinery imports that followed liberalization, suggesting that the skilled-biased technology is embodied in imported machinery.

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Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta in its series FRB Atlanta Working Paper with number 2002-11.

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Date of creation: 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fip:fedawp:2002-11
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  1. Deardorff, Alan V., 1979. "Weak links in the chain of comparative advantage," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 197-209, May.
  2. Stephen Machin & John Van Reenen, 1998. "Technology and changes in skill structure: evidence from seven OECD countries," IFS Working Papers W98/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
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