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Trade and Labor Market Outcomes

  • Elhanan Helpman
  • Oleg Itskhoki
  • Stephen Redding

This paper reviews a new framework for analyzing the interrelationship between inequality, unemployment, labor market frictions, and foreign trade. This framework emphasizes firm heterogeneity and search and matching frictions in labor markets. It implies that the opening of trade may raise inequality and unemployment, but always raises welfare. Unilateral reductions in labor market frictions increase a country's welfare, can raise or reduce its unemployment rate, yet always hurt the country's trade partner. Unemployment benefits can alleviate the distortions in a country's labor market in some cases but not in others, but they can never implement the constrained Pareto optimal allocation. We characterize the set of optimal policies, which require interventions in product and labor markets.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16662.

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Date of creation: Jan 2011
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Publication status: published as E.Helpman, O.Itskhoki, S. Redding, Trade and labor market outcomes, in Daron Acemoglu, Manuel Arellano and Eddie Dekel (eds.), Advances in Economics and Econometrics: Theory and Application. Tenth World Congress , Volume II: Applied Economics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press), 2013.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16662
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  2. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2008. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 14106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  7. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
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  9. Blanchard, Olivier & Wolfers, Justin, 2000. "The Role of Shocks and Institutions in the Rise of European Unemployment: The Aggregate Evidence," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 110(462), pages C1-33, March.
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  14. Matusz, Steven J, 1986. "Implicit Contracts, Unemployment and International Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 96(382), pages 307-22, June.
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  23. Zhu, Susan Chun & Trefler, Daniel, 2005. "Trade and inequality in developing countries: a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 21-48, January.
  24. Davidson, Carl & Martin, Lawrence & Matusz, Steven, 1999. "Trade and search generated unemployment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 271-299, August.
  25. Menezes Filho, N. A. & Menezes Filho, N. A., 2007. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, With a Comparison to France and the United States," Insper Working Papers wpe_78, Insper Working Paper, Insper Instituto de Ensino e Pesquisa.
  26. Donald R. Davis & James Harrigan, 2007. "Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization," Discussion Papers 0607-07, Columbia University, Department of Economics.
  27. Agell, Jonas & Lundborg, Per, 1995. "Fair Wages in the Open Economy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 62(247), pages 335-51, August.
  28. Ricardo, David, 1821. "On the Principles of Political Economy and Taxation," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, edition 3, number ricardo1821.
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