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Immigration and Wages: An Open Economy Model

  • Wang-Sheng Lee

    ()

    (Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne)

This paper shows how some simple modifications to the classical Heckscher-Ohlin model in international trade can be made so that it can be used to analyse the impact of immigration on wages. In particular, this is accomplished by constructing a model in which countries have very different endowments of factors, reside in different diversification cones and specialise in production. In such a model, it is not necessary that factor prices are equalised across countries. Based on simulation results of this modified Heckscher-Ohlin model, it is found that the actual immigrant flow in the U.S. from 1979 to 1995 is unlikely to be a major contributor to the observed high-skill/low-skill wage gap increase over the period. This paper shows how some simple modifications to the classical Heckscher-Ohlin model in international trade can be made so that it can be used to analyse the impact of immigration on wages. In particular, this is accomplished by constructing a model in which countries have very different endowments of factors, reside in different diversification cones and specialise in production. In such a model, it is not necessary that factor prices are equalised across countries. Based on simulation results of this modified Heckscher-Ohlin model, it is found that the actual immigrant flow in the U.S. from 1979 to 1995 is unlikely to be a major contributor to the observed high-skill/low-skill wage gap increase over the period.

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Paper provided by Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne in its series Melbourne Institute Working Paper Series with number wp2007n07.

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Length: 20 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2007
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iae:iaewps:wp2007n07
Contact details of provider: Postal: Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research, The University of Melbourne, Victoria 3010 Australia
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  9. Charles I. Jones, 2005. "The Shape of Production Functions and the Direction of Technical Change," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 120(2), pages 517-549, May.
  10. Indro Dasgupta & Thomas Osang, 2000. "Trade, Wages, and Specific Factors," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1134, Econometric Society.
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  12. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1998. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed The Labor Market?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1169-1213, November.
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  19. Debaere, Peter & Demiroglu, Ufuk, 2003. "On the similarity of country endowments," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 101-136, January.
  20. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Friedman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1997. "How Much Do Immigration and Trade Affect Labor Market Outcomes?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 28(1), pages 1-90.
  21. David Card, 1996. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," Working Papers 747, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  22. Barro, Robert J & Lee, Jong-Wha, 2001. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 53(3), pages 541-63, July.
  23. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  24. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
  25. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Globalisation and Wages: A Tale of Two Perspectives," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 609-629, 07.
  26. Christian Dustmann & Francesca Fabbri & Ian Preston, 2005. "The Impact of Immigration on the British Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 115(507), pages F324-F341, November.
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  28. Debreu, Gerard, 1974. "Excess demand functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 15-21, March.
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