IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/red/sed018/284.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The Distributional Effects of Trade: Theory and Evidence from the United States

Author

Listed:
  • Kirill Borusyak

    (Harvard University)

  • Xavier Jaravel

Abstract

Are the gains from trade unequally distributed in society? This paper presents new evidence on the distributional effects of trade on education groups in the U.S. through both consumer prices (expenditure channel) and wages (earnings channel). Our analysis, guided by a simple quantitative trade model, leverages linked datasets that cover the entire U.S. economy and include detailed spending data on consumer packaged goods and automobiles. First, we show that the expenditure channel is distributionally neutral due to offsetting forces. College graduates spend more on services, which are largely non-traded; however, their spending on goods is skewed towards industries, firms, and brands with higher import content. Second, on the earnings side, we find that college graduates work in industries that (1) are less exposed to import competition, (2) export more, (3) are more income-elastic, and (4) use fewer imported inputs. The first three forces cause trade liberalizations to favor college graduates; the fourth has the opposite effect. Finally, we combine and quantify the expenditure and earnings channels using the model. A 10% reduction of all import and export barriers generates a modest increase in inequality between education groups, primarily due to the earnings channel. Welfare gains are 16% higher for college graduates, whose real income increases by 2.02% compared to 1.74% for individuals without a college degree. Reductions of import barriers with China have qualitatively similar implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Kirill Borusyak & Xavier Jaravel, 2018. "The Distributional Effects of Trade: Theory and Evidence from the United States," 2018 Meeting Papers 284, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed018:284
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://economicdynamics.org/meetpapers/2018/paper_284.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Pol Antras & Davin Chor & Thibault Fally & Russell Hillberry, 2012. "Measuring the Upstreamness of Production and Trade Flows," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(3), pages 412-416, May.
    2. repec:aea:aejpol:v:11:y:2019:i:2:p:1-34 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Magne Mogstad & Emmanuel Dhyne & Ayumu Kikkawa & Felix Tintelnot, 2017. "Trade and Domestic Production Networks," 2017 Meeting Papers 381, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    4. Feenstra, Robert C, 1994. "New Product Varieties and the Measurement of International Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(1), pages 157-177, March.
    5. Sergey Nigai, 2016. "On Measuring the Welfare Gains from Trade Under Consumer Heterogeneity," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 126(593), pages 1193-1237, June.
    6. Timo Boppart, 2014. "Structural Change and the Kaldor Facts in a Growth Model With Relative Price Effects and Non‐Gorman Preferences," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 82, pages 2167-2196, November.
    7. Nicholas Bloom & Erik Brynjolfsson & Lucia Foster & Ron Jarmin & Megha Patnaik & Itay Saporta-Eksten & John Van Reenen, 2017. "What Drives Differences in Management?," CEP Discussion Papers dp1470, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
    8. Jaimovich, Nir & Rebelo, Sérgio & Wong, Arlene, 2015. "Trading Down and the Business Cycle," CEPR Discussion Papers 10807, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. Fariha Kamal & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Identifying foreign suppliers in U.S. import data," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(1), pages 117-139, February.
    10. Marcel P. Timmer & Erik Dietzenbacher & Bart Los & Robert Stehrer & Gaaitzen J. Vries, 2015. "An Illustrated User Guide to the World Input–Output Database: the Case of Global Automotive Production," Review of International Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 575-605, August.
    11. Costas Arkolakis & Arnaud Costinot & Andres Rodriguez-Clare, 2012. "New Trade Models, Same Old Gains?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(1), pages 94-130, February.
    12. repec:aea:aerins:v:1:y:2019:i:2:p:209-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Sharon Traiberman, 2017. "Occupations and Import Competition," 2017 Meeting Papers 1237, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    14. Gabriel Chodorow-Reich, 2019. "Geographic Cross-Sectional Fiscal Spending Multipliers: What Have We Learned?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(2), pages 1-34, May.
    15. Liang Bai & Sebastian Stumpner, 2019. "Estimating US Consumer Gains from Chinese Imports," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 209-224, September.
    16. Lorenzo CALIENDO & Maximiliano DVORKIN & Fernando PARRO, 2016. "Trade and Labor Market Dynamics," Discussion papers 16050, Research Institute of Economy, Trade and Industry (RIETI).
    17. Hanoch, Giora, 1975. "Production and Demand Models with Direct or Indirect Implicit Additivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 43(3), pages 395-419, May.
    18. Simon Galle & Andrés Rodríguez-Clare & Moises Yi, 2017. "Slicing the Pie: Quantifying the Aggregate and Distributional Effects of Trade," NBER Working Papers 23737, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    19. Bethany DeSalvo & Frank F. Limehouse & Shawn D. Klimek, 2016. "Documenting the Business Register and Related Economic Business Data," Working Papers 16-17, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    20. Colin Hottman & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Estimating Unequal Gains across U.S. Consumers with Supplier Trade Data," International Finance Discussion Papers 1220, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Carroll, Daniel R. & Hur, Sewon, 2019. "On the Heterogeneous Welfare Gains and Losses from Trade," Working Papers 190602, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    2. repec:boi:isrerv:v:16:y:2019:i:2:p:141-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:boi:isrerv:v:16:y:2018:i:2:p:141-147 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. repec:aea:aerins:v:1:y:2019:i:2:p:209-24 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ural Marchand, Beyza, 2019. "Inequality and Trade Policy: Pro-Poor Bias of Contemporary Trade Restrictions," Working Papers 2019-4, University of Alberta, Department of Economics.
    6. Liang Bai & Sebastian Stumpner, 2019. "Estimating US Consumer Gains from Chinese Imports," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 1(2), pages 209-224, September.
    7. Daniel Carroll & Sewon Hur, 2019. "On the Heterogeneous Welfare Gains and Losses from Trade," 2019 Meeting Papers 1358, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Colin J. Hottman & Ryan Monarch, 2018. "Estimating Unequal Gains across U.S. Consumers with Supplier Trade Data," Working Papers 18-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    9. Carroll, Daniel R. & Hur, Sewon, 2019. "On the Heterogeneous Welfare Gains and Losses from Trade," Working Papers 190600, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
    10. repec:eee:eecrev:v:114:y:2019:i:c:p:54-75 is not listed on IDEAS
    11. Jaravel, Xavier & Sager, Erick, 2019. "What are the Price Effects of Trade? Evidence from the U.S. and Implications for Quantitative Trade Models," CEPR Discussion Papers 13902, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.

    More about this item

    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:red:sed018:284. 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: (Christian Zimmermann). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/sedddea.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.