IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/17991.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation

Author

Listed:
  • Elhanan Helpman
  • Oleg Itskhoki
  • Marc-Andreas Muendler
  • Stephen J. Redding

Abstract

While neoclassical theory emphasizes the impact of trade on wage inequality between occupations and sectors, more recent theories of firm heterogeneity point to the impact of trade on wage dispersion within occupations and sectors. Using linked employer-employee data for Brazil, we show that much of overall wage inequality arises within sector-occupations and for workers with similar observable characteristics; this within component is driven by wage dispersion between firms; and wage dispersion between firms is related to firm employment size and trade participation. We then extend the heterogenous-firm model of trade and inequality from Helpman, Itskhoki, and Redding (2010) and estimate it with Brazilian data. We show that the estimated model provides a close approximation to the observed distribution of wages and employment. We use the estimated model to undertake counterfactuals, in which we find sizable effects of trade on wage inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Stephen J. Redding, 2012. "Trade and Inequality: From Theory to Estimation," NBER Working Papers 17991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17991
    Note: ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w17991.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Gonzaga, Gustavo & Menezes Filho, Naercio & Terra, Cristina, 2006. "Trade liberalization and the evolution of skill earnings differentials in Brazil," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(2), pages 345-367, March.
    2. Gueorgui Kambourov, 2009. "Labour Market Regulations and the Sectoral Reallocation of Workers: The Case of Trade Reforms," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 76(4), pages 1321-1358.
    3. Eric A. Verhoogen, 2008. "Trade, Quality Upgrading, and Wage Inequality in the Mexican Manufacturing Sector," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 489-530.
    4. Giulia Faggio & Kjell G. Salvanes & John Van Reenen, 2010. "The evolution of inequality in productivity and wages: panel data evidence," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(6), pages 1919-1951, December.
    5. Naércio Aquino Menezes-Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler & Garey Ramey, 2008. "The Structure of Worker Compensation in Brazil, with a Comparison to France and the United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 90(2), pages 324-346, May.
    6. Davidson, Carl & Heyman, Fredrik & Matusz, Steven & Sjöholm, Fredrik & Zhu, Susan Chun, 2014. "Globalization and imperfect labor market sorting," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 94(2), pages 177-194.
    7. Lawrence F. Katz & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "Changes in Relative Wages, 1963–1987: Supply and Demand Factors," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 35-78.
    8. Yeaple, Stephen Ross, 2005. "A simple model of firm heterogeneity, international trade, and wages," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(1), pages 1-20, January.
    9. Baumgarten, Daniel, 2013. "Exporters and the rise in wage inequality: Evidence from German linked employer–employee data," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(1), pages 201-217.
    10. Munch, Jakob Roland & Skaksen, Jan Rose, 2008. "Human capital and wages in exporting firms," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 75(2), pages 363-372, July.
    11. John Van Reenen, 1996. "The Creation and Capture of Rents: Wages and Innovation in a Panel of U. K. Companies," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 195-226.
    12. Naércio Aquino Menezes Filho & Marc-Andreas Muendler, 2007. "Labor Reallocation in Response to Trade Reform," CESifo Working Paper Series 1936, CESifo Group Munich.
    13. Fabien Postel-Vinay & Hélène Turon, 2010. "On-The-Job Search, Productivity Shocks, And The Individual Earnings Process," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 51(3), pages 599-629, August.
    14. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki, 2010. "Labour Market Rigidities, Trade and Unemployment," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 77(3), pages 1100-1137.
    15. Robert C. Feenstra & Gene M. Grossman & Douglas A. Irwin (ed.), 1996. "The Political Economy of Trade Policy: Papers in Honor of Jagdish Bhagwati," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262061864, March.
    16. Sofronis K. Clerides & Saul Lach & James R. Tybout, 1998. "Is Learning by Exporting Important? Micro-Dynamic Evidence from Colombia, Mexico, and Morocco," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(3), pages 903-947.
    17. Egger, Hartmut & Egger, Peter & Kreickemeier, Udo, 2013. "Trade, wages, and profits," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 332-350.
    18. Jonathan Eaton & Samuel Kortum & Francis Kramarz, 2011. "An Anatomy of International Trade: Evidence From French Firms," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 79(5), pages 1453-1498, September.
    19. Hartmut Egger & Udo Kreickemeier, 2017. "Firm Heterogeneity and the Labor Market Effects of Trade Liberalization," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade and Labor Markets Welfare, Inequality and Unemployment, chapter 10, pages 265-306 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    20. Avraham Ebenstein & Ann Harrison & Margaret McMillan & Shannon Phillips, 2014. "Estimating the Impact of Trade and Offshoring on American Workers using the Current Population Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 96(4), pages 581-595, October.
    21. Abowd, John M. & Kramarz, Francis & Margolis, David N. & Troske, Kenneth R., 2001. "The Relative Importance of Employer and Employee Effects on Compensation: A Comparison of France and the United States," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 15(4), pages 419-436, December.
    22. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
    23. Koujianou Goldberg, Pinelopi & Pavcnik, Nina, 2003. "The response of the informal sector to trade liberalization," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 72(2), pages 463-496, December.
    24. Felbermayr, Gabriel & Prat, Julien & Schmerer, Hans-Jörg, 2011. "Globalization and labor market outcomes: Wage bargaining, search frictions, and firm heterogeneity," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 146(1), pages 39-73, January.
    25. Elhanan Helpman & Oleg Itskhoki & Stephen Redding, 2010. "Inequality and Unemployment in a Global Economy," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(4), pages 1239-1283, July.
    26. Paula Bustos, 2011. "Trade Liberalization, Exports, and Technology Upgrading: Evidence on the Impact of MERCOSUR on Argentinian Firms," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(1), pages 304-340, February.
    27. Davis, Donald R. & Harrigan, James, 2011. "Good jobs, bad jobs, and trade liberalization," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 26-36, May.
    28. Alfonso Irarrazabal & Andreas Moxnes & Luca David Opromolla, 2013. "The Margins of Multinational Production and the Role of Intrafirm Trade," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 121(1), pages 74-126.
    29. Monte, Ferdinando, 2011. "Skill bias, trade, and wage dispersion," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 202-218, March.
    30. Thomas Lemieux, 2006. "Increasing Residual Wage Inequality: Composition Effects, Noisy Data, or Rising Demand for Skill?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(3), pages 461-498, June.
    31. Lars A. Stole & Jeffrey Zwiebel, 1996. "Intra-firm Bargaining under Non-binding Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(3), pages 375-410.
    32. Thorsten Schank & Claus Schnabel & Joachim Wagner, 2016. "Do Exporters Really Pay Higher Wages? First Evidence from German Linked Employer–Employee Data," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Microeconometrics of International Trade, chapter 5, pages 177-213 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    33. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-1997, December.
    34. Fally, Thibault & Paillacar, Rodrigo & Terra, Cristina, 2010. "Economic geography and wages in Brazil: Evidence from micro-data," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1), pages 155-168, January.
    35. Ariel Burstein & Jonathan Vogel, 2010. "Globalization, Technology, and the Skill Premium: A Quantitative Analysis," NBER Working Papers 16459, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    36. Burdett, Kenneth & Mortensen, Dale T, 1998. "Wage Differentials, Employer Size, and Unemployment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 39(2), pages 257-273, May.
    37. John M. Abowd & Robert H. Creecy & Francis Kramarz, 2002. "Computing Person and Firm Effects Using Linked Longitudinal Employer-Employee Data," Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics Technical Papers 2002-06, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    38. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    39. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2014. "Wage Effects of Trade Reform with Endogenous Worker Mobility," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(2), pages 239-252.
    40. Sherwin Rosen, 1982. "Authority, Control, and the Distribution of Earnings," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 13(2), pages 311-323, Autumn.
    41. Juhn, Chinhui & Murphy, Kevin M & Pierce, Brooks, 1993. "Wage Inequality and the Rise in Returns to Skill," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(3), pages 410-442, June.
    42. 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.
    43. Mary Amiti & Donald R. Davis, 2012. "Trade, Firms, and Wages: Theory and Evidence," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 79(1), pages 1-36.
    44. 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.
    45. Moulton, Brent R, 1990. "An Illustration of a Pitfall in Estimating the Effects of Aggregate Variables on Micro Unit," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 72(2), pages 334-338, May.
    46. Krishna, Pravin & Poole, Jennifer P. & Senses, Mine Zeynep, 2011. "Trade liberalization, firm heterogeneity, and wages : new evidence from matched employer-employee data," Policy Research Working Paper Series 5711, The World Bank.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:17991. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/nberrus.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.