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Factor Prices and International Trade: A Unifying Perspective

  • Ariel Burstein
  • Jonathan Vogel

How do trade liberalizations affect relative factor prices and to what extent do they cause factors to reallocate across sectors? We first present a general framework that nests a wide range of models that have been used to study the link between globalization and factor prices. Under some restrictions, changes in the "factor content of trade" are sufficient statistics for the impact of trade on relative factor prices. We then study the determination of the factor content of trade in a specific version of our general framework featuring imperfect competition, increasing returns to scale, and heterogeneous producers. We show how heterogeneous firms' decisions shape the factor content of trade, and, therefore, the impact of trade liberalization on relative factor prices and between-sector factor allocation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16904.

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Date of creation: Mar 2011
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16904
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  1. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2004. "Increasing returns, imperfect competition and factor prices," Economics Working Papers 953, Department of Economics and Business, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, revised Oct 2005.
  2. Arnaud Costinot & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Matching and Inequality in the World Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 118(4), pages 747-786, 08.
  3. Paolo Epifani & Gino Gancia, 2008. "The Skill Bias of World Trade," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 118(530), pages 927-960, 07.
  4. Andrew Atkeson & Ariel Burstein, 2007. "Innovation, Firm Dynamics, and International Trade," Levine's Working Paper Archive 122247000000001423, David K. Levine.
  5. Costas Arkolakis, 2008. "Market Penetration Costs and the New Consumers Margin in International Trade," NBER Working Papers 14214, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Daniel Trefler & Susan Chun Zhu, 2005. "The Structure of Factor Content Predictions," NBER Working Papers 11221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. John Romalis, 2004. "Factor Proportions and the Structure of Commodity Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 67-97, March.
  8. Helpman, Elhanan & Itskhoki, Oleg & Redding, Stephen J., 2009. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," CEPR Discussion Papers 7353, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Fernando Parro, 2013. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and the Skill Premium in a Quantitative Model of Trade," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 72-117, April.
  10. Ariel Burstein & Javier Cravino & Jonathan Vogel, 2011. "Importing Skill-Biased Technology," NBER Working Papers 17460, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1991. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963-1987: Supply and Demand Factors," NBER Working Papers 3927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Per Krusell & Lee E. Ohanian & JosÈ-Victor RÌos-Rull & Giovanni L. Violante, 2000. "Capital-Skill Complementarity and Inequality: A Macroeconomic Analysis," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 68(5), pages 1029-1054, September.
  13. Davidson, Carl & Matusz, Steven J. & Shevchenko, Andrei, 2008. "Globalization and firm level adjustment with imperfect labor markets," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 295-309, July.
  14. Thomas Chaney, 2008. "Distorted Gravity: The Intensive and Extensive Margins of International Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(4), pages 1707-21, September.
  15. Deardorff, Alan V. & Staiger, Robert W., 1988. "An interpretation of the factor content of trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 24(1-2), pages 93-107, February.
  16. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  17. Gordon H. Hanson & Robert C. Feenstra, 2000. "Aggregation Bias in the Factor Content of Trade: Evidence from U.S. Manufacturing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 155-160, May.
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