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Inequality and Schooling Responses to Globalization Forces: Lessons from History

  • Jeffrey G. Williamson

In the first global century before 1914, trade and especially migration had profound effects on both low-wage, labor abundant Europe and the high-wage, labor scarce New World. Those global forces contributed to a reduction in unskilled labor scarcity in the New World and to a rise in unskilled labor scarcity in Europe. Thus, it contributed to rising inequality in overseas countries, like the United States, and falling inequality in most of Europe. Falling unskilled labor scarcity and rising skill scarcity contributed to the high school revolution in the US. Rising unskilled scarcity also contributed to the primary schooling and literacy revolution in Europe. Under what conditions would we expect the same responses to globalization in today’s world? This paper argues that modern debates about inequality and schooling responses to globalization should pay more attention to history.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 12553.

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Date of creation: Oct 2006
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Publication status: published as Jeffrey G. Williamson, 2006. "Inequality and schooling responses to globalization forces: lessons from history," Proceedings, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, pages 225-248.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12553
Note: DAE ED LS POL ITI
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  1. O'Rourke, Kevin H & Taylor, Alan M & Williamson, Jeffrey G, 1996. "Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 37(3), pages 499-530, August.
  2. Claudia Goldin, 1993. "The Political Economy of Immigration Restriction in the United States, 1890 to 1921," NBER Working Papers 4345, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Betr N, Concha & Pons, Maria A., 2004. "Skilled and unskilled wage differentials and economic integration, 1870 1930," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 29-60, April.
  4. Kevin O'Rourke & Alan M. Taylor & Jeffrey G. Williamsmn, 1996. "Land, Labor and the Wage-Rental Ratio: Factor Price Convergence in the Late Nineteenth Century," NBER Historical Working Papers 0046, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality in the United States, 1913–1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-41.
  6. Deininger, Klaus & Squire, Lyn, 1996. "A New Data Set Measuring Income Inequality," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 10(3), pages 565-91, September.
  7. 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, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(4), pages 1335-1374.
  8. Claudia Goldin & Robert A. Margo, 1991. "The Great Compression: The Wage Structure in the United States at Mid- Century," NBER Working Papers 3817, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Anderson, Edward, 2001. "Globalisation and wage inequalities, 1870 1970," European Review of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 5(01), pages 91-118, April.
  10. George J. Borjas, 2003. "The Labor Demand Curve is Downward Sloping: Reexamining the Impact of Immigration on the Labor Market," NBER Working Papers 9755, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Collins, Wiiliam J., 1997. "When the Tide Turned: Immigration and the Delay of the Great Black Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 607-632, September.
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