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North-South Trade, Unemployment and Growth: What’s the Role of Labor Unions?

  • Wolf-Heimo Grieben


    (Department of Economics, University of Konstanz, Germany)

  • Fuat Sener


    (Department of Economics, Union College, Schenectady, New York, USA)

We construct a North-South product-cycle model of trade with fully-endogenous growth in which both countries experience unemployment due to union wage bargaining. We find that unilateral Northern trade liberalization reduces growth and increases unemployment in both countries, while unilateral Southern trade liberalization has the opposite effects. We show that the existence of labor unions matters for trade liberalization to have any effect on Northern innovation and worldwide growth. For empirically plausible parameter values, bilateral trade liberalization by equal amounts increases growth and reduces unemployment in both countries. Stronger Northern labor unions hurt both countries by reducing growth and increasing unemployment. However, stronger Southern labor unions exert a positive growth effect for both countries, while decreasing Northern unemployment and increasing Southern unemployment.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of Konstanz in its series Working Paper Series of the Department of Economics, University of Konstanz with number 2012-06.

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Length: 44 pages
Date of creation: 31 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:knz:dpteco:1206
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