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The Impacts of Trade Liberalization on Employment and Wages in Tunisian Industries

Author

Listed:
  • Haouas, Ilham

    () (Abu Dhabi University)

  • Yagoubi, Mahmoud

    () (University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne)

  • Heshmati, Almas

    () (Jönköping University, Sogang University)

Abstract

This paper investigates short and long-run effects of trade liberalization on employment and wages. Employment and wage equations are estimated using data (1971–96) for importable and exportable sectors in Tunisia. Causality tests show that causality is unidirectional. Wages strongly causes employment but employment does not cause wages. There is significant difference in the direction of responses in the short and long run. Results from empirical testing using the models find only support for the short-run theoretical predictions for the exportable sector. Similar results obtained for the importable sectors. We find the differences in the short and long-run wage and employment responses to changes in export to be explained by learning by doing, organizational changes and improved factor utilization and labour productivity. A possible reason for the divergence of theory and practice is that the theoretical model is premised on the basis of a fixed supply of labour. Exportable employment could therefore only rise if importable employment fell. However, as we have seen, the supply of labour increased dramatically in Tunisia as women entered the labour market. This allowed importable employment to be maintained (even slightly increased) as the exportable sector expanded.

Suggested Citation

  • Haouas, Ilham & Yagoubi, Mahmoud & Heshmati, Almas, 2003. "The Impacts of Trade Liberalization on Employment and Wages in Tunisian Industries," IZA Discussion Papers 688, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp688
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Levinsohn, James, 1999. "Employment responses to international liberalization in Chile," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 321-344, April.
    2. Mussa, Michael, 1978. "Dynamic Adjustment in the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 775-791, October.
    3. John M. Abowd & Thomas Lemieux, 1991. "The Effects of International Competition on Collective Bargaining Outcomes: A Comparison of the United States and Canada," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 343-367 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Milner, Chris & Wright, Peter, 1998. "Modelling Labour Market Adjustment to Trade Liberalisation in an Industrialising Economy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 509-528, March.
    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. Dornbusch, Rudiger, 1974. "Tariffs and nontraded goods," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 177-185, May.
    7. Arulampalam, W. & Robin A. Naylor & Jeremy P. Smith, 2002. "University of Warwick," Royal Economic Society Annual Conference 2002 9, Royal Economic Society.
    8. Heyman, Fredrik, 2001. "Wage Dispersion and Allocation of Jobs," SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Economics and Finance 479, Stockholm School of Economics.
    9. Dong, Xiao-yuan, 1998. "Employment and Wage Determination in China's Rural Industry: Investigation Using 1984-1990 Panel Data," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 485-501, September.
    10. Richard A. Brecher, 1974. "Minimum Wage Rates and the Pure Theory of International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 88(1), pages 98-116.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ilham Haouas & Almas Heshmati, 2015. "The Impact of Arab Spring on Hiring and Separation Rates in the Tunisian Labor Market," Working Papers 921, Economic Research Forum, revised Jun 2015.
    2. repec:ilo:ilowps:374452 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:bla:sajeco:v:85:y:2017:i:2:p:259-278 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Ilham Haouas & Mahmoud Yagoubib, 2007. "The effect of international trade on labour-demand elasticities: empirical evidence from Tunisia," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 15(4), pages 277-286.
    5. Haouas, Ilham & Yagoubi, Mahmoud, 2004. "Trade Liberalization and Labor-Demand Elasticities: Empirical Evidence from Tunisia," IZA Discussion Papers 1084, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Kyvik Nord°as, Hildegunn., 2005. "Labour implications of the textiles and clothing quota phase-out," ILO Working Papers 993744523402676, International Labour Organization.
    7. Ben Salha, Ousama, 2013. "Does economic globalization affect the level and volatility of labor demand by skill? New insights from the Tunisian manufacturing industries," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 37(4), pages 572-597.
    8. Ilham Haouas & Mahmoud Yagoubi, 2004. "Trade liberalization and demand labor elasticities : evidence from Tunisia," Documents de travail 94, Groupe d'Economie du Développement de l'Université Montesquieu Bordeaux IV.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    panel data; manufacturing; imports; exports; labour market; trade; Tunisia;

    JEL classification:

    • C23 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Models with Panel Data; Spatio-temporal Models
    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • F10 - International Economics - - Trade - - - General
    • L60 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - General

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