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Some Simple Analytics of Trade and Labor Mobility

  • Shubham Chaudhuri
  • John McLaren

We study a simple, tractable model of labor adjustment in a trade model that allows us to analyze the economy's dynamic response to trade liberalization. Since it is a neoclassical market-clearing model, we can use duality techniques to study the equilibrium, and despite its simplicity a rich variety of properties emerge. The model generates gross flows of labor across industries, even in the steady state; persistent wage differentials across industries; gradual adjustment to a liberalization; and anticipatory adjustment to a pre-announced liberalization. Pre-announcement makes liberalization less attractive to export-sector workers and more attractive to import-sector workers, eventually making workers unanimous either in favor of or in opposition to liberalization. Based on these results, we identify many pitfalls to conventional methods of empirical study of trade liberalization that are based on static models.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 13464.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13464
Note: ITI LS
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  1. Carl Davidson & Steven J. Matusz, 2004. "International Trade and Labor Markets: Theory, Evidence, and Policy Implications," Books from Upjohn Press, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, number itlm, March.
  2. Mussa, Michael, 1978. "Dynamic Adjustment in the Heckscher-Ohlin-Samuelson Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(5), pages 775-91, October.
  3. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  4. Feenstra, Robert C. & Lewis, Tracy R., 1994. "Trade adjustment assistance and Pareto gains from trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3-4), pages 201-222, May.
  5. Topel, Robert H, 1986. "Local Labor Markets," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(3), pages S111-43, June.
  6. Jovanovic, Boyan & Moffitt, Robert, 1988. "An Estimate Of A Sectoral Model Of Labor Mobility," Working Papers 88-32, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  7. Stephen Cameron & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2007. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: Theory," NBER Working Papers 13463, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Matsuyama, Kiminori, 1992. "A Simple Model of Sectoral Adjustment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 59(2), pages 375-88, April.
  9. Erhan Artuc & Shubham Chaudhuri & John McLaren, 2007. "Trade Shocks and Labor Adjustment: A Structural Empirical Approach," NBER Working Papers 13465, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dehejia, Vivek, 1997. "Will Gradualism Work When Shock Therapy Doesn't?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1552, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  12. Karp, Larry S. & Paul, Thierry, 1993. "Phasing In And Phasing Out Protectionism With Costly Adjustments Of Labour," Working Papers 51112, International Agricultural Trade Research Consortium.
  13. Caroline L. Freund & John McLaren, 1999. "On the dynamics of trade diversion: evidence from four trade blocs," International Finance Discussion Papers 637, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  14. Dixit Avinash & Rob Rafael, 1994. "Switching Costs and Sectoral Adjustments in General Equilibrium with Uninsured Risk," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 48-69, February.
  15. Mussa, Michael, 1974. "Tariffs and the Distribution of Income: The Importance of Factor Specificity, Substitutability, and Intensity in the Short and Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1191-1203, Nov.-Dec..
  16. Rappaport, Jordan, 2004. "Why are population flows so persistent?," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(3), pages 554-580, November.
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