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Effort, Wages and the International Division of Labor

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  • Edward E. Leamer

Abstract

This paper embeds variable effort into a traditional multi-sector model. Effort enters a production function like total-factor-productivity and on the assumption that effort doesn't affect capital depreciation, the capital-cost savings from high effort operations are passed on to workers. The labor market thus offers a set of contracts with higher wages compensating for higher effort. Among the implications of the model are: The capital savings from effort are greatest in the capital-intensive sectors where the high-effort high-wage contracts occur; Communities inhabited by industrious workers have high returns to capital and comparative advantage in capital-intensive goods; Capital accumulation in a closed economy causes reductions in effort; Capital accumulation in an open economy creates new high-wage high-effort jobs and higher effort levels; Price declines of labor intensive goods twist the wage-eff offer curve reward for hard work; A deterioration in the terms of trade causes an economy- wide reduction in effort; A minimum wage does not cause unemployment. It forces effort in local services up high enough to support the higher wage. This acts like an increase in labor supply which increases the return on capital. A minimum wage by forcing greater effort increases GDP and reduces earnings inequality, but it makes workers worse off since they prefer the the contracts offered by the free market.

Suggested Citation

  • Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "Effort, Wages and the International Division of Labor," NBER Working Papers 5803, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:5803
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    Cited by:

    1. Abián García-Rodríguez & Fernando Sánchez-Losada, 2014. "R&D poverty traps," UB Economics Working Papers 2014/307, Universitat de Barcelona, Facultat d'Economia i Empresa, UB Economics.
    2. Bonatti, Luigi, 2002. "The effects of wage compression on unemployment and on the intersectoral distribution of employment: a dynamic model," Economic Systems, Elsevier, vol. 26(2), pages 127-144, June.
    3. Michael C. Ewers & Edward J. Malecki, 2010. "Leapfrogging Into The Knowledge Economy: Assessing The Economic Development Strategies Of The Arab Gulf States," Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie, Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG, vol. 101(5), pages 494-508, December.
    4. Yongsung Chang & Mark Bils, 2002. "Cyclical Movements in Hours and Effort under Sticky Wages," Macroeconomics 0204004, EconWPA.
    5. Alexander Bick & Nicola Fuchs-Schündeln & David Lagakos, 2018. "How Do Hours Worked Vary with Income? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 108(1), pages 170-199, January.
    6. Gustavo Crespi & Chiara Criscuolo & Jonathan Haskel, 2006. "Information Technology, Organisational Change and Productivity Growth: Evidence from UK Firms," Working Papers 558, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
    7. Jeremy Greenwood & David Weiss, 2013. "Mining Surplus: Modeling James A. Schmitz's Link Between Competition and Productivity," Economie d'Avant Garde Research Reports 22, Economie d'Avant Garde.
    8. Elias Dinopoulos & Laixun Zhao, 2007. "Child Labor and Globalization," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 25, pages 553-579.
    9. Crespi, Gustavo & Criscuolo, Chiara & Haskel, Jonathan, 2007. "Information Technology, Organisational Change and Productivity," CEPR Discussion Papers 6105, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Drusilla K. Brown & Alan V. Deardorff & Robert M. Stern, 2009. "The Effects of Multinational Production on Wages and Working Conditions in Developing Countries," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: Globalization And International Trade Policies, chapter 17, pages 623-687 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Fu, Shihe, 2007. "Smart Cafe Cities: Testing human capital externalities in the Boston metropolitan area," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 86-111, January.
    12. repec:dau:papers:123456789/5173 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Stuart S. Rosenthal & William C. Strange, 2003. "Agglomeration, Labor Supply, and the Urban Rat Race," Center for Policy Research Working Papers 57, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
    14. Bernardo Blum, 2003. "The Course of Geography: A View about the Process of Wealth. Creation and Distribution," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 40(121), pages 423-433.
    15. Dumont, Michel, 2004. "The Impact of International Trade with Newly Industrialised Countries on the Wages and Employment of Low-Skilled and High-Skilled Workers in the European Union," MPRA Paper 83525, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    16. Bils, Mark & Chang, Yongsung, 2003. "Welfare costs of sticky wages when effort can respond," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(2), pages 311-330, March.
    17. Edward E Leamer & Michael Storper, 2001. "The Economic Geography of the Internet Age," Journal of International Business Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Academy of International Business, vol. 32(4), pages 641-665, December.
    18. Koeniger, Winfried, 2001. "Trade, Labor Market Rigidities, and Government-Financed Technological Change," IZA Discussion Papers 241, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    19. Benjamin, Daniel K. & Thornberg, Christopher, 2007. "Organization and incentives in the age of sail," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 317-341, April.
    20. Matti Viren, 2006. "Higher wages and capital intensity: a closer look," Discussion Papers 13, Aboa Centre for Economics.
    21. Bick, Alexander & Fuchs-Schündeln, Nicola & Lagakos, David, 2016. "How do Average Hours Worked Vary with Development? Cross-Country Evidence and Implications," CEPR Discussion Papers 11092, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    22. Wang, Yongjin & Zhao, Laixun, 2015. "Saving good jobs from global competition by rewarding quality and efforts," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 426-434.
    23. van Schaik, Anton B. T. M. & de Groot, Henri L. F., 2002. "Macroeconomic consequences of downsizing," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 19(3), pages 331-352, May.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F11 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Neoclassical Models of Trade
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply

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