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What Are the Results of Product-Price Studies and What Can We Learn From Their Differences?

  • Matthew J. Slaughter
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    In recent years many economists have analyzed whether international trade has contributed to rising U.S. wage inequality by changing relative product prices. In this paper I survey the findings of nine product-price' studies which together demonstrate how the methodology of product-price studies has evolved. I then synthesize the findings of these nine studies and draw two main conclusions. The first conclusion is that this literature has a refined set of empirical strategies for applying the Stolper-Samuelson theorem to the data from which important methodological lessons can be learned. The second main conclusion is that despite the methodological progress that has been made, research to date still has fundamental limitations regarding the key question of how much international trade has contributed to rising wage inequality. Most importantly, more work needs to link exogenous forces attributable to international trade to actual product-price changes.

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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w6591.pdf
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    Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 6591.

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    Date of creation: Jun 1998
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    Publication status: published as International Trade and Wages, NBER Conference Volume, Feenstra, Robert C.,ed., 2000, forthcoming.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6591
    Note: ITI
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    1. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
    2. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-77, March.
    3. Feenstra, R.C. & Hanson, G.H., 1995. "Foreign Investment, Outsourcing and Relative Wages," Department of Economics 95-14, California Davis - Department of Economics.
    4. Baldwin, Robert E & Cain, Glen C, 1997. "Shifts in US Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology and Factor Endowments," CEPR Discussion Papers 1596, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    5. William Alterman, 1991. "Price Trends in U.S. Trade: New Data, New Insights," NBER Chapters, in: International Economic Transactions: Issues in Measurement and Empirical Research, pages 109-143 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 1998. "Does the Sector Bias of Skill-Biased Technical Change Explain Changing Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 6565, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. 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.
    8. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
    9. Ethier, Wilfred J., 1984. "Higher dimensional issues in trade theory," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 3, pages 131-184 Elsevier.
    10. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "In Search of Stolper-Samuelson Effects on U.S. Wages," NBER Working Papers 5427, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Alan B. Krueger, 1997. "Labor Market Shifts and the Price Puzzle Revisited," NBER Working Papers 5924, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Baldwin, Robert E & Hilton, R Spence, 1984. "A Technique for Indicating Comparative Costs and Predicting Changes in Trade Ratios," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 66(1), pages 105-10, February.
    13. Hakura, D. & Deardorff, A.V., 1993. "Trade and Wages: What Are the Questions?," Working Papers 341, Research Seminar in International Economics, University of Michigan.
    14. Deardorff, Alan V., 1984. "Testing trade theories and predicting trade flows," Handbook of International Economics, in: R. W. Jones & P. B. Kenen (ed.), Handbook of International Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 10, pages 467-517 Elsevier.
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