IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/nbr/nberwo/7539.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Have Falling Tariffs and Transportation Costs Raised U.S. Wage Inequality?

Author

Listed:
  • Jonathan E. Haskel
  • Matthew J. Slaughter

Abstract

A number of studies have tried to gauge the effect of international trade on the rising U.S. skill premium by examining whether product prices in unskill-intensive sectors have fallen relative to prices in skill-intensive sectors. However, these studies do not estimate what share of domestic product-price changes is due to trade barriers. This paper attempts to address this issue by analyzing not the sector bias of price changes but rather the sector bias of price changes induced by changes in U.S. tariffs and transportation costs. We find that in both the 1970s and 1980s, level cuts in tariffs and transportation costs levels were concentrated in the unskill-intensive sectors. If pass-through of trade barriers to product prices is uniform across all sectors, then this suggests falls in tariffs and transportation costs were mandating a rise in the U.S. skill premium. But despite this suggestive evidence, we estimate that the price changes induced by tariffs or transportation costs mandated a rise in the skill premium that was mostly statistically insignificant. Thus, we do not find strong evidence that falling tariffs and transport costs, working through price changes, mandated rises in inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2000. "Have Falling Tariffs and Transportation Costs Raised U.S. Wage Inequality?," NBER Working Papers 7539, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:7539
    Note: ITI
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w7539.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 1996. "A New Approach to Evaluating Trade Policy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 63(1), pages 107-125.
    2. Keller, Wolfgang, 2000. "Do Trade Patterns and Technology Flows Affect Productivity Growth?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 14(1), pages 17-47, January.
    3. Feenstra, Robert C., 1989. "Symmetric pass-through of tariffs and exchange rates under imperfect competition: An empirical test," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1-2), pages 25-45, August.
    4. Steven J. Davis & John C. Haltiwanger & Scott Schuh, 1998. "Job Creation and Destruction," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262540932, January.
    5. Eli Bekman & John Bound & Stephen Machin, 1998. "Implications of Skill-Biased Technological Change: International Evidence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 113(4), pages 1245-1279.
    6. Harrison, Ann, 1996. "Openness and growth: A time-series, cross-country analysis for developing countries," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 419-447, March.
    7. Haskel, Jonathan & Slaughter, Matthew J, 2001. "Trade, Technology and U.K. Wage Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(468), pages 163-187, January.
    8. Robert C. Feenstra, 1996. "U.S. Imports, 1972-1994: Data and Concordances," NBER Working Papers 5515, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. James E. Anderson & J. Peter Neary, 2003. "The Mercantilist Index of Trade Policy," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(2), pages 627-649, May.
    10. R. E. Baldwin & G. G. Cain, "undated". "Shifts in U.S. Relative Wages: The Role of Trade, Technology, and Factor Endowments," Institute for Research on Poverty Discussion Papers 1132-97, University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty.
    11. Eric J. Bartelsman & Wayne Gray, 1996. "The NBER Manufacturing Productivity Database," NBER Technical Working Papers 0205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    12. Irwin, Douglas A, 1998. "Change in U.S. Tariffs: The Role of Import Prices and Commercial Policies," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(4), pages 1015-1026, September.
    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. Gordon H. Hanson & Ann Harrison, 1999. "Trade Liberalization and Wage Inequality in Mexico," ILR Review, Cornell University, ILR School, vol. 52(2), pages 271-288, January.
    15. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
    16. Pritchett, Lant, 1996. "Measuring outward orientation in LDCs: Can it be done?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(2), pages 307-335, May.
    17. Ronald Findlay & Harry Grubert, 1959. "Factor Intensities, Technological Progress, And The Terms Of Trade," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 111-121.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials

    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:7539. 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.