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Multinational Production, Skilled Labor and Real Wages

Author

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  • James R. Markusen
  • Anthony J. Venables

Abstract

Adapting our earlier model of multinationals, we address policy issues involving wages and labor skills. Multinational firms may arise endogenously, exporting their firm-specific knowledge capital to foreign production facilities, and geographically fragmenting production into skilled and unskilled-labor-intensive activities. Multinationals thus alter the nature of trade, from trade in goods (produced with both skilled and unskilled labor) to trade in skilled- labor-intensive producer services. Results shed light on several policy questions. First, multinationals increase the skilled/unskilled wage gap in the high income country and, under some circumstances, in the low income country as well. Second, there is a sense in which multinationals export low skilled jobs to the lower income country. Third, trade barriers do not protect unskilled labor in the high income countries. By inducing a regime shift to multinationals, trade barriers protect the abundant factor, at least in the high income country and possibly in both countries. Fourth, a convergence in country characteristics induces the entry of multinationals and raises the skilled-unskilled wage gap in the initially large and skilled-labor-abundant country, and possibly in the small skilled-labor-scarce country as well.

Suggested Citation

  • James R. Markusen & Anthony J. Venables, 1996. "Multinational Production, Skilled Labor and Real Wages," NBER Working Papers 5483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5483
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Arti Grover, 2005. "Outsourcing Versus Foreign Direct Investment--A Welfare Analysis," Working papers 140, Centre for Development Economics, Delhi School of Economics.
    2. Robert C. Feenstra, 1998. "Integration of Trade and Disintegration of Production in the Global Economy," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 12(4), pages 31-50, Fall.
    3. Shalah M. Mostashari, 2011. "Vertical specialization, intermediate tariffs, and the pattern of trade: assessing the role of tariff liberalization to U.S. bilateral trade 1989-2001," Globalization and Monetary Policy Institute Working Paper 71, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
    4. Markusen, James R. & Venables, Anthony J. & Eby Konan, Denise & Zhang, Kevin H., 1996. "A Unified Treatment of Horizontal Direct Investment, Vertical Direct Investment, and the Pattern of Trade in Goods and Services," Working Paper Series 465, Research Institute of Industrial Economics.
    5. De Santis, Roberto A. & Stahler, Frank, 2004. "Endogenous market structures and the gains from foreign direct investment," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 545-565, December.
    6. James R. Markusen, 1997. "Trade versus Investment Liberalization," NBER Working Papers 6231, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Francois, Joseph & Nelson, Doug R, 2000. "Victims of Progress: Economic Integration, Specialization and Wages for Unskilled Labour," CEPR Discussion Papers 2527, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Marco Vivarelli & Mariacristina Piva, 2001. "The skill bias in Italy: a first report," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 15(2), pages 1-8.
    9. Natalia Vechiu & Farid Makhlouf, 2014. "Economic integration and specialization in production in the EU27: does FDI influence countries’ specialization?," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 46(2), pages 543-572, March.
    10. Rigby, D L & Breau, Sebastien, 2007. "Impacts of Trade on Wage Quality in Los Angeles: Analysis Using Matched Employer-Employee Data," Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, Working Paper Series qt0fh5z1hf, Center for Global, International and Regional Studies, UC Santa Cruz.
    11. David Rigby & Sebastien Breau, 2006. "Impacts of Trade on Wage Inequality in Los Angeles: Analysis Using Matched Employer-Employee Data," Working Papers 06-12, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business

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