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Looking for Local Labor Market Effects of NAFTA

Author

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  • John McLaren
  • Shushanik Hakobyan

Abstract

Using US Census data for 1990-2000, we estimate effects of NAFTA on US wages. We look for effects of the agreement by industry and by geography, measuring each industry's vulnerability to Mexican imports, and each locality's dependance on vulnerable industries. We find evidence of both effects, dramatically lowering wage growth for blue-collar workers in the most affected industries and localities (even for service-sector workers in affected localities). These distributional effects are much larger than aggregate welfare effects estimated by other authors. In addition, we find strong evidence of anticipatory adjustment in places whose protection was expected to fall but had not yet fallen; this adjustment appears to have conferred an anticipatory rent to workers in those locations.

Suggested Citation

  • John McLaren & Shushanik Hakobyan, 2010. "Looking for Local Labor Market Effects of NAFTA," NBER Working Papers 16535, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16535
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gordon H. Hanson, 2007. "Globalization, Labor Income, and Poverty in Mexico," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 417-456 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fukao, Kyoji & Okubo, Toshihiro & Stern, Robert M., 2003. "An econometric analysis of trade diversion under NAFTA," The North American Journal of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 3-24, March.
    3. Harrison, Ann & McLaren, John & McMillan, Margaret S., 2010. "Recent findings on trade and inequality:," IFPRI discussion papers 1047, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. John Romalis, 2007. "NAFTA's and CUSFTA's Impact on International Trade," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 416-435, August.
    5. Sethupathy, Guru, 2013. "Offshoring, wages, and employment: Theory and evidence," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 62(C), pages 73-97.
    6. Artuç, Erhan & Chaudhuri, Shubham & McLaren, John, 2008. "Delay and dynamics in labor market adjustment: Simulation results," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(1), pages 1-13, May.
    7. Hosios, Arthur J, 1990. "Factor Market Search and the Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(2), pages 325-355, April.
    8. Petia Topalova, 2007. "Trade Liberalization, Poverty and Inequality: Evidence from Indian Districts," NBER Chapters,in: Globalization and Poverty, pages 291-336 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Gary Clyde Hufbauer & Jeffrey J. Schott, 2005. "NAFTA Revisited: Achievements and Challenges," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 332.
    10. Mary E. Burfisher & Sherman Robinson & Karen Thierfelder, 2001. "The Impact of NAFTA on the United States," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 15(1), pages 125-144, Winter.
    11. Anil Kumar, 2006. "Did NAFTA spur Texas exports?," Southwest Economy, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, issue Mar, pages 3-7.
    12. Lorenzo Caliendo & Fernando Parro, 2015. "Estimates of the Trade and Welfare Effects of NAFTA," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 1-44.
    13. Robert C. Feenstra & John Romalis & Peter K. Schott, 2002. "U.S. Imports, Exports, and Tariff Data, 1989-2001," NBER Working Papers 9387, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F13 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade Policy; International Trade Organizations
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

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