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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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  1. Eli Berman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1997. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," Boston University - Institute for Economic Development 78, Boston University, Institute for Economic Development.
  2. Gaston, Noel & Nelson, Douglas, 2000. "Immigration and Labour-Market Outcomes in the United States: A Political-Economy Puzzle," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(3), pages 104-14, Autumn.
  3. David Card, 1997. "Immigrant Inflows, Native Outflows, and the Local Labor Market Impacts of Higher Immigration," NBER Working Papers 5927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Leamer, E. & Levingsohn, J., 1994. "International Trade Theory: The Evidence," Working Papers 368, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
  9. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Globalisation and Wages: A Tale of Two Perspectives," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 609-629, 07.
  10. David Card & John E. DiNardo, 2000. "Do Immigrant Inflows Lead to Native Outflows?," NBER Working Papers 7578, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Robert J. Barro & Jong-Wha Lee, 2000. "International Data on Educational Attainment: Updates and Implications," CID Working Papers 42, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  12. David H. Autor & Lawrence F. Katz & Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Computing Inequality: Have Computers Changed the Labor Market?," NBER Working Papers 5956, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Mantel, Rolf R., 1974. "On the characterization of aggregate excess demand," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 7(3), pages 348-353, March.
  14. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve Is Downward Sloping: Reexamining The Impact Of Immigration On The Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374, November.
  15. 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.
  16. Slaughter, Matthew J, 1998. "International Trade and Labour-Market Outcomes: Results, Questions, and Policy Options," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1452-62, September.
  17. Daniel Trefler, 1997. "Immigrants and Natives in General Equilibrium Trade Models," NBER Working Papers 6209, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. 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.
  19. Francesco Caselli & Wilbur John Coleman II, 2000. "The World Technology Frontier," NBER Working Papers 7904, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. George J. Borjas & Lawrence F. Katz, 2007. "The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Mexican Immigration to the United States, pages 13-56 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. 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.
  22. Indro Dasgupta & Thomas Osang, 2000. "Trade, Wages, and Specific Factors," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1134, Econometric Society.
  23. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Technology, Trade, and Factor Prices," NBER Working Papers 5355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. 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.
  25. Peter K. Schott, 1999. "One Size Fits All? Specialization, Trade and Income Inequality," Yale School of Management Working Papers ysm132, Yale School of Management.
  26. 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.
  27. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
  28. Debreu, Gerard, 1974. "Excess demand functions," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 1(1), pages 15-21, March.
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