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Trade Liberalization and Labor Market Dynamics

Listed author(s):
  • Rafael Dix-Carneiro

    (Princeton University)

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    This paper studies trade-induced transitional dynamics by estimating a structural dynamic equilibrium model of the labor market. The model features a multi-sector economy with overlapping generations, heterogeneous workers, endogenous accumulation of sector-specific experience and costly switching of sectors. The estimation employs a large panel of workers constructed from Brazilian matched employer-employee data. The model?s estimates yield high average costs of mobility that are very dispersed across the population. In addition, sector-specific experience is imperfectly transferable across sectors, leading to additional barriers to mobility. Using the estimated model as a laboratory for counterfactual experiments, this paper finds that: (1) there is a large labor market response following trade liberalization but the transition may take several years; (2) potential aggregate welfare gains are significantly mitigated due to the slow adjustment; (3) trade-induced welfare effects are very heterogeneous across the population; (4) retraining workers initially employed in the adversely affected sector may reduce losses incurred by these workers and increase aggregate welfare; (5) a moving subsidy that covers costs of mobility is more promising for compensating losers, although at the expense of higher welfare adjustment costs. The experiments also highlight the sensitivity of the transitional dynamics with respect to assumptions regarding the mobility of physical capital.

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    File URL: http://www.princeton.edu/ceps/workingpapers/212dix-carneiro.pdf
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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Department of Economics, Center for Economic Policy Studies. in its series Working Papers with number 1273.

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    Date of creation: Nov 2010
    Handle: RePEc:pri:cepsud:212dix-carneiro.pdf
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