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Comparative Advantage and Skill-specific Unemployment

  • Mario Larch
  • Wolfgang Lechthaler

We introduce unemployment and endogenous selection of workers into different skill-classes in a trade model with two sectors and heterogeneous firms. This allows us to study the distributional consequences and the skill-specific unemployment effects of trade liberalization. We show that the gains from trade will be distributed very unequally. While unskilled workers loose in terms of real wages and employment levels in the skilled labor intensive sector, skilled workers loose in terms of real wages and unemployment levels in the unskilled labor intensive sector. However, the inequality of workers between sectors is much larger for skilled labor than for unskilled labor. On average, unemployment among unskilled workers increases when a skill-abundant country opens up to trade

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Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Kiel Working Papers with number 1538.

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Length: 45 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2009
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:kie:kieliw:1538
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  1. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
  2. James E. Anderson, 2008. "Gravity, Productivity and the Pattern of Production and Trade," Boston College Working Papers in Economics 700, Boston College Department of Economics.
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  16. Bernard, Andrew B. & Redding, Stephen J. & Schott, Peter K., 2004. "Comparative Advantage and Heterogenous Firms," CEPR Discussion Papers 4622, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
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  28. Levinsohn, James, 1999. "Employment responses to international liberalization in Chile," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 47(2), pages 321-344, April.
  29. Robert Shimer, 2005. "The Cyclical Behavior of Equilibrium Unemployment and Vacancies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(1), pages 25-49, March.
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