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Globalization and Wage Convergence: Mexico and the United States


  • Davide Gandolfi

    (Macalester College)

  • Timothy Halliday

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Raymond Robertson

    (Macalester College)


Neoclassical trade theory suggests that factor price convergence should follow increased commercial integration. Rising commercial integration and foreign direct investment followed the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement between the United States and Mexico. This paper evaluates the degree of wage convergence between Mexico and the United States between 1988 and 2011. We apply a synthetic panel approach to employment survey data and a more descriptive approach to Census data from Mexico and the US. First, we find no evidence of long-run wage convergence among cohorts characterized by low migration propensities although this was, in part, due to large macroeconomic shocks. On the other hand, we do find some evidence of convergence for workers with high migration propensities. Finally, we find evidence of convergence in the border of Mexico vis-Ã -vis its interior in the 1990s but this was reversed in the 2000s.

Suggested Citation

  • Davide Gandolfi & Timothy Halliday & Raymond Robertson, 2014. "Globalization and Wage Convergence: Mexico and the United States," Working Papers 201405, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201405

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Elsner, Benjamin, 2013. "Emigration and wages: The EU enlargement experiment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 154-163.
    2. Peter K. Schott, 2003. "One Size Fits All? Heckscher-Ohlin Specialization in Global Production," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 686-708, June.
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    5. Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg & Nina Pavcnik, 2007. "Distributional Effects of Globalization in Developing Countries," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(1), pages 39-82, March.
    6. Raymond Robertson, 2000. "Wage Shocks and North American Labor-Market Integration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 742-764, September.
    7. Mishra, Prachi, 2007. "Emigration and wages in source countries: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(1), pages 180-199, January.
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    12. Daniel Chiquiar & Gordon H. Hanson, 2005. "International Migration, Self-Selection, and the Distribution of Wages: Evidence from Mexico and the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(2), pages 239-281, April.
    13. Dussel Peters, Enrique & Gallagher, Kevin P., 2013. "NAFTA's uninvited guest: China and the disintegration of North American trade," Revista CEPAL, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL), August.
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    More about this item


    Migration; Labor-market Integration; Factor Price Equalization;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration

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