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Trade-Induced Structural Change and the Skill Premium

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  • Sebastian Sotelo

    (The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor)

  • Javier Cravino

    (University of Michigan)

Abstract

This paper proposes and quantifies a novel mechanism through which trade integration can affect the skill premium. When complementarities across sectors are strong, trade integration in low-skilled intensive sectors reduces the employment share of these sectors and rises the skill premium. We document that, in a broad set of countries over the past three decades, the share of domestically produced goods in absorption has declined dramatically in low-skill labor intensive sectors and remained roughly constant in high-skill labor intensive sectors. Using a quantitative multi-country, multi-sector model of trade and labor heterogeneity, we show that these changes in trade patterns account for roughly half of the decline in the share of goods-producing sectors in gross output. In our baseline calibration, this generates a 4 percent increase in the skill premium in the average country of our sample, as well as in the US. The increase in the skill premium is much larger in developing countries where the highly traded sectors are particularly unskilled-intensive.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Sotelo & Javier Cravino, 2016. "Trade-Induced Structural Change and the Skill Premium," 2016 Meeting Papers 1690, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed016:1690
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Justin Caron & Thibault Fally & James R. Markusen, 2021. "International Trade Puzzles: A Solution Linking Production And Preferences," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 11, pages 199-250, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
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    7. Timothy J. Kehoe & Kim J. Ruhl & Joseph B. Steinberg, 2018. "Global Imbalances and Structural Change in the United States," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 126(2), pages 761-796.
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    Cited by:

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    2. Winkler, Erwin, 2020. "Diverging paths: Labor reallocation, sorting, and wage inequality," VfS Annual Conference 2020 (Virtual Conference): Gender Economics 224535, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Antràs, Pol & de Gortari, Alonso & Itskhoki, Oleg, 2017. "Globalization, inequality and welfare," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 387-412.
    4. Ricardo Reyes-Heroles, 2018. "Globalization and Structural Change in the United States: A Quantitative Assessment," 2018 Meeting Papers 1027, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    5. Justin Caron & Thibault Fally & James Markusen, 2021. "Per capita income and the demand for skills," World Scientific Book Chapters, in: BROADENING TRADE THEORY Incorporating Market Realities into Traditional Models, chapter 12, pages 251-268, World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. Khan, Muhammad Aamir, 2020. "Cross sectoral linkages to explain structural transformation in Nepal," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 221-235.
    7. Logan T. Lewis & Ryan Monarch & Michael Sposi & Jing Zhang, 2018. "Structural Change and Global Trade," International Finance Discussion Papers 1225, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Lidia Smitkova, 2018. "Does Openness Matter for Structural Change?," 2018 Meeting Papers 257, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. Yang, Han, 2020. "Dynamic Trade, Education and Intergenerational Inequality," MPRA Paper 99976, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Rodrigo Adão & Costas Arkolakis & Federico Esposito, 2019. "General Equilibrium Effects in Space: Theory and Measurement," NBER Working Papers 25544, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    11. Cravino, Javier & Levchenko, Andrei A. & Rojas, Marco, 2019. "Population aging and structural transformation," CEPR Discussion Papers 14026, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Ricardo Reyes-Heroles & Sharon Traiberman & Eva Van Leemput, 2020. "Emerging Markets and the New Geography of Trade: The Effects of Rising Trade Barriers," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 68(3), pages 456-508, September.
    13. Ricardo Reyes-Heroles & Sharon Traiberman & Eva Van Leemput, 0. "Emerging Markets and the New Geography of Trade: The Effects of Rising Trade Barriers," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 0, pages 1-53.
    14. Yang, Han, 2019. "Dynamic Trade, Education and Intergenerational Inequality," MPRA Paper 96054, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Myeongwan Kim, 2020. "The Price Effect of Trade: Evidence of the China Shock and Canadian Consumer Prices," CSLS Research Reports 2020-02, Centre for the Study of Living Standards.
    16. Ryan Monarch & Jing Zhang & Logan Lewis, 2017. "Structural Change and Slowdown of International Trade," 2017 Meeting Papers 1542, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Rodrigo Adão & Costas Arkolakis & Federico Espósito, 2019. "Spatial Linkages, Global Shocks, and Local Labor Markets: Theory and Evidence," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 2163, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    18. Mariarosaria Comunale & Giulia Felice, 2019. "An empirical investigation of the relationship between trade and structural change," Bank of Lithuania Working Paper Series 62, Bank of Lithuania.
    19. Lee, Eunhee, 2020. "Trade, inequality, and the endogenous sorting ofheterogeneous workers," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 125(C).

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F62 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Macroeconomic Impacts
    • F63 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization - - - Economic Development

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