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Trade, Technology and Wage Inequality

  • Hanson, G.H.
  • Harrison, A.

In Mexico during the 1980s, the wages of more-educated, more- experienced workers rose relative to those of less-educated, less- experienced workers. We assess the extent to which the increase in the skilled-unskilled wage gap was associated with Mexico's recent trade reform. In particular, we examine whether trade reform has shifted employment towards industries that are relatively intensive in the use of skilled labor (Stolper-Samuelson-type effects). The results suggest that the rising wage gap is associated with changes internal to industries and even internal to plants that cannot be explained by Stolper-Samuelson-type effects. We also find that other characteristics associated with globalization -- such as foreign investment and export orientation -- matter. Exporting firms and joint ventures pay higher wages to skilled workers and demand more skilled labor than other firms.

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Paper provided by Columbia - Graduate School of Business in its series Papers with number 95-20.

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Length: 46 pages
Date of creation: 1995
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fth:colubu:95-20
Contact details of provider: Postal: U.S.A.; COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY, GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, PAINE WEBBER , New York, NY 10027 U.S.A
Phone: (212) 854-5553
Web page: http://www.gsb.columbia.edu/

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  1. Feenstra, Robert C. & Hanson, Gordon H., 1997. "Foreign direct investment and relative wages: Evidence from Mexico's maquiladoras," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3-4), pages 371-393, May.
  2. Ethier, Wilfred J., 1984. "Higher dimensional issues in trade theory," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 131-184 Elsevier.
  3. Bernard, Andrew B. & Jensen, J. Bradford, 1997. "Exporters, skill upgrading, and the wage gap," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(1-2), pages 3-31, February.
  4. Steven J. Davis, 1992. "Cross-Country Patterns of Change in Relative Wages," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 1992, Volume 7, pages 239-300 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Edward E. Leamer, 1994. "Trade, Wages and Revolving Door Ideas," NBER Working Papers 4716, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Doms, Mark & Dunne, Timothy & Troske, Kenneth R, 1997. "Workers, Wages, and Technology," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 253-90, February.
  7. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-42, June.
  8. Michael Ian Cragg & Mario Epelbaum, 1995. "The Premium for Skills in LDCs: Evidence from Mexico," Working Papers 9505, Centro de Investigacion Economica, ITAM.
  9. Robert E. Lipsey, 1994. "Foreign-Owned Firms and U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 4927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "Foreign Competition, Market Power and Wage Inequality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Edward E. Leamer, 1992. "Wage Effects of A U.S. - Mexican Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 3991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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