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Wage Implications of Trade Liberalisation: Evidence for Effective Policy Formation

  • Susan Stone
  • Ricardo Cavazos Cepeda

The relationship between trade and wages has been subject to intense scrutiny in the academic literature with no clear consensus emerging. This paper adds to this body of research by moving beyond the single country analysis level to a panel including developed and developing countries and data through the mid 2000.s. First we examine the relationship between wages and trade using the approach of Feenstra and Hanson to calculate mandated wage changes for our dataset. We find that imports have a significant and positive impact on wages while the sign on tariffs is negative and significant. We also look at the relationship of wage differentials at the occupation level between partner countries. We find that the difference in occupation wage is smaller for large trade partners. Finally, we discuss the potential role of NTMs in influencing the wage and trade relationship.

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Paper provided by OECD Publishing in its series OECD Trade Policy Papers with number 122.

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Date of creation: 12 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:oec:traaab:122-en
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  1. Robert Feenstra & Gordon Hanson, 2001. "Global Production Sharing and Rising Inequality: A Survey of Trade and Wages," NBER Working Papers 8372, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Guillaume Gaulier & Julien Martin & Isabelle Méjean & Soledad Zignago, 2008. "International Trade Price Indices," Working Papers 2008-10, CEPII research center.
  3. 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.
  4. Mary O'Mahony & Marcel P. Timmer, 2009. "Output, Input and Productivity Measures at the Industry Level: The EU KLEMS Database," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 119(538), pages F374-F403, 06.
  5. Harrison, Ann E., 1994. "Productivity, imperfect competition and trade reform : Theory and evidence," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(1-2), pages 53-73, February.
  6. Currie, Janet & Harrison, Ann E, 1997. "Sharing the Costs: The Impact of Trade Reform on Capital and Labor in Morocco," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 15(3), pages S44-71, July.
  7. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1999. "The Impact Of Outsourcing And High-Technology Capital On Wages: Estimates For The United States, 1979-1990," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 114(3), pages 907-940, August.
  8. Attanasio, Orazio & Goldberg, Pinelopi K. & Pavcnik, Nina, 2004. "Trade reforms and wage inequality in Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(2), pages 331-366, August.
  9. Jonathan E. Haskel & Matthew J. Slaughter, 2003. "Have Falling Tariffs and Transportation Costs Raised US Wage Inequality?," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 11(4), pages 630-650, 09.
  10. M. Dumont & G. Rayp & P. Willemé & O. Thas, 2003. "Correcting Standard Errors in Two-Stage Estimation Procedures with Generated Regressands," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 03/172, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
  11. Gene M. Grossman & Esteban Rossi-Hansberg, 2008. "Trading Tasks: A Simple Theory of Offshoring," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1978-97, December.
  12. Lawrence Edwards & Robert Z. Lawrence, 2010. "US Trade and Wages: The Misleading Implications of Conventional Trade Theory," NBER Working Papers 16106, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Susan Stone & Ricardo Cavazos Cepeda & Anna Jankowska, 2011. "The Role of Factor Content in Trade: Have Changes in Factor Endowments Been Reflected in Trade Patterns and on Relative Wages?," OECD Trade Policy Papers 109, OECD Publishing.
  14. Richard B. Freeman, 1995. "Are Your Wages Set in Beijing?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 9(3), pages 15-32, Summer.
  15. Richard B. Freeman & Remco Oostendorp, 2000. "Wages Around the World: Pay Across Occupations and Countries," NBER Working Papers 8058, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Krugman, Paul R., 2000. "Technology, trade and factor prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
  17. Matthew J. Slaughter, 1999. "Globalisation and Wages: A Tale of Two Perspectives," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(5), pages 609-629, 07.
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