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Immigrants and Natives in General Equilibrium Trade Models

  • Daniel Trefler

This paper makes three observations about international trade and immigration. (i)" Borjas has argued that immigration may yield a net social benefit even though it hurts those less-skilled workers who directly compete with immigrants. I show that this closed-economy" argument unravels when imbedded in the Ricardian or Heckscher-Ohlin models of international" trade. (ii) Following Wood and Feenstra-Hanson, I argue that within an industry those goods" produced abroad use more unskilled labor than those goods produced in the United States. How" much more depends on whether the good is produced in a developed or developing country. " After transparently incorporating this into a new factor content study I find that changes in U.S." trade patterns almost certainly battered wages of those at the very bottom of the skill ladder. (iii)" Despite globalization pressures, I find little evidence of earnings convergence for a sample of 75" countries over the 1963-92 period. This holds true even after controlling for education and workers' industry of affiliation.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6209.

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Date of creation: Oct 1997
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Publication status: published as In The Immigration Debate: Studies on the Economic, Demographic, and Fiscal Effects of Immigration, Smith, James P., ed., Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1998, pp. 206-238.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6209
Note: ITI LS
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  1. Borjas, George J, 1987. "Self-Selection and the Earnings of Immigrants," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(4), pages 531-53, September.
  2. Razin, Assaf & Sadka, Efraim, 1993. "International migration and international trade," Handbook of Population and Family Economics, in: M. R. Rosenzweig & Stark, O. (ed.), Handbook of Population and Family Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 15, pages 851-887 Elsevier.
  3. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "International Factor Price Differences: Leontief Was Right!," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(6), pages 961-87, December.
  4. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1993. "Inequality and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 104-09, May.
  5. Goldin, Claudia & Katz, Lawrence F, 1996. "Technology, Skill, and the Wage Structure: Insights from the Past," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 252-57, May.
  6. George J. Borjas & Richard B. Freeman & Lawrence F. Katz, 1991. "On the Labor Market Effects of Immigration and Trade," NBER Working Papers 3761, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. George J. Borjas, 1995. "The Economic Benefits from Immigration," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(2), pages 3-22, Spring.
  8. 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 410-42, June.
  9. R. Dornbusch & S. Fischer & P. A. Samuelson, 1976. "Comparative Advantage, Trade and Payments in a Ricardian Model With a Continuum of Goods," Working papers 178, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
  10. Stephen Nickell & D. Nicolitsas, 1994. "Wages," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51644, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  11. Mussa, Michael, 1974. "Tariffs and the Distribution of Income: The Importance of Factor Specificity, Substitutability, and Intensity in the Short and Long Run," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(6), pages 1191-1203, Nov.-Dec..
  12. Helpman, Elhanan, 1984. "Increasing returns, imperfect markets, and trade theory," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 7, pages 325-365 Elsevier.
  13. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Eli Berman & John Bound & Zvi Griliches, 1993. "Changes in the Demand for Skilled Labor within U.S. Manufacturing Industries: Evidence from the Annual Survey of Manufacturing," NBER Working Papers 4255, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "The Case of the Missing Trade and Other Mysteries," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 85(5), pages 1029-46, December.
  16. Barro, Robert J. & Lee, Jong-Wha, 1993. "International comparisons of educational attainment," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 363-394, December.
  17. James A. Brander & Barbara J. Spencer, 1981. "Tariffs and the Extraction of Foreign Monopoly Rents under Potential Entry," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(3), pages 371-89, August.
  18. Daniel Trefler & Susan Chun Zhu, 2005. "The Structure of Factor Content Predictions," NBER Working Papers 11221, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  19. Markusen, James R., 1983. "Factor movements and commodity trade as complements," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3-4), pages 341-356, May.
  20. Paul Krugman & Robert Lawrence, 1993. "Trade, Jobs, and Wages," NBER Working Papers 4478, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1974. "Short-Run and Long-Run Equilibrium for a Small Open Economy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 82(5), pages 955-67, Sept./Oct.
  22. Leamer, Edward E, 1993. "Factor-Supply Differences as a," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(2), pages 436-39, May.
  23. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1993. "Foreign Competition, Market Power and Wage Inequality: Theory and Evidence," NBER Working Papers 4556, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  24. Griliches, Zvi, 1969. "Capital-Skill Complementarity," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 51(4), pages 465-68, November.
  25. Revenga, Ana L, 1992. "Exporting Jobs? The Impact of Import Competition on Employment and Wages in U.S. Manufacturing," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(1), pages 255-84, February.
  26. Jeffrey D. Sachs & Howard J. Shatz, 1994. "Trade and Jobs in Manufacturing," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(1), pages 1-84.
  27. Trefler, Daniel, 1993. "Trade Liberalization and the Theory of Endogenous Protection: An Econometric Study of U.S. Import Policy," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(1), pages 138-60, February.
  28. Gaston, Noel & Trefler, Daniel, 1995. "Union wage sensitivity to trade and protection: Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(1-2), pages 1-25, August.
  29. Edward E. Leamer, 1992. "Wage Effects of A U.S. - Mexican Free Trade Agreement," NBER Working Papers 3991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  30. Steve J. Davis & John Haltiwanger, 1991. "Wage Dispersion Between and Within U.S. Manufacturing Plants, 1963-1986," NBER Working Papers 3722, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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