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Relative Wages, Openness and Skill-Biased Technological Change

  • Görg, Holger

    ()

    (Kiel Institute for the World Economy)

  • Strobl, Eric

    ()

    (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris)

Standard neo-classical trade theory predicts that trade liberalisation should cause a fall in wage inequality in developing countries through a decrease in the relative demand for skilled labour. Recent studies of a number of developing countries, however, find evidence to the contrary. Using a panel of manufacturing firms in the 1990s we investigate whether skillbiased technological change induced through imports of technology-intensive capital goods or export activity may provide an explanation for the increase in relative wages of skilled workers in Ghana. Estimates of a skilled worker relative demand equation based on a translog cost function show that changes in technology through a greater inflow of foreign machinery is found to be indeed consistent with skill-biased technological change in Ghana.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 596.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp596
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  1. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality in Mexico," Industrial and Labor Relations Review, ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
  2. Bruce A. Blonigen & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2001. "Foreign-Affiliate Activity And U.S. Skill Upgrading," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 83(2), pages 362-376, May.
  3. Machin, S. & Van Reenen, J., 1997. "Technology and Changes in Skill Structure: Evidence from Seven OECD Countries," Papers 24, Centre for Economic Performance & Institute of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. Beyer, Harald & Rojas, Patricio & Vergara, Rodrigo, 1999. "Trade liberalization and wage inequality," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 103-123, June.
  6. Andrew B. Bernard & J. Bradford Jensen, 2004. "Why Some Firms Export," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 561-569, May.
  7. Liu, Jin-Tan & Tsou, Meng-Wen & Hammitt, James K, 2001. "The Impact of Advanced Technology Adoption on Wage Structures: Evidence from Taiwan Manufacturing Firms," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 68(271), pages 359-78, August.
  8. Pissarides, Christopher A, 1997. "Learning by Trading and the Returns to Human Capital in Developing Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(1), pages 17-32, January.
  9. Lucy Chennells & John Van Reenen, 1999. "Has technology hurt less skilled workers? A survey of the micro-econometric evidence," IFS Working Papers W99/27, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  10. Navaretti, Giorgio Barba & Soloaga, Isidro & Takacs, Wendy, 2000. "Vintage Technologies and Skill Constraints: Evidence from U.S. Exports of New and Used Machines," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 91-109, January.
  11. Head, Keith & Ries, John, 2002. "Offshore production and skill upgrading by Japanese manufacturing firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(1), pages 81-105, October.
  12. Haskel, Jonathan E, 2000. "Trade and Labor Approaches to Wage Inequality," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 8(3), pages 397-408, August.
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