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Variety-Skill Complementarity: A Simple Resolution of the Trade-Wage Inequality Anomaly

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  • Yoshinori Kurokawa

Abstract

The Stolper-Samuelson theorem predicts that the relative wage of high-skilled to low-skilled labor will increase in the high-skill abundant U.S. but decrease in low-skill abundant Mexico after trade liberalization, while it actually began to rise in both countries in the late 1980s. We present a simple resolution of this "trade-wage inequality anomaly" in a model of variety trade. Variety trade increases the variety of intermediate goods used by the final good. If the varieties and high-skilled labor are complements, the skill premium rises in both countries. This linking of imports of new foreign varieties?---the extensive margin?---to wage inequality is compatible with evidence. Our numerical examples illustrate that small amounts of variety trade can produce a signi?ficant increase in relative wage.

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  • Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2009. "Variety-Skill Complementarity: A Simple Resolution of the Trade-Wage Inequality Anomaly," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2009-007, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
  • Handle: RePEc:tsu:tewpjp:2009-007
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    Cited by:

    1. Chingunjav Amarsanaa & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2011. "The Extensive Margin of International Trade in a Transition Economy: The Case of Mongolia," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2011-005, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Mar 2021.
    2. Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "A Survey Of Trade And Wage Inequality: Anomalies, Resolutions And New Trends," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(1), pages 169-193, February.
    3. Manoj Atolia & Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2008. "Variety Trade and Skill Premium in a Calibrated General Equilibrium Model: The Case of Mexico," Working Papers wp2008_11_03, Department of Economics, Florida State University.
    4. Andrea Waddle, 2021. "Trade, Technological Change, And Wage Inequality: The Case Of Mexico," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 62(1), pages 243-276, February.
    5. Yoshinori Kurokawa, 2014. "A Simple Model of Competition Policies, Trade, and the Skill Premium," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2014-002, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba, revised Apr 2020.
    6. Huanxing Yang, 2020. "Targeted search, endogenous market segmentation, and wage inequality," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 69(2), pages 367-414, March.
    7. Saito Tetsuya, 2012. "How Do We Get Cobb-Douglas and Leontief Functions from CES Function: A Lecture Note on Discrete and Continuum Differentiated Object Models," Journal of Industrial Organization Education, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-13, December.
    8. Atolia, Manoj & Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2016. "The impact of trade margins on the skill premium: Evidence from Mexico," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(5), pages 895-915.
    9. Yoshinori Kurokawa & Jiaren Pang & Yao Tang, 2011. "Exchange Rate Regimes, Trade, and the Wage Comovements," Tsukuba Economics Working Papers 2011-001, Economics, Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba.
    10. Toshiaki Takahashi & Hajime Takatsuka & Dao-Zhi Zeng, 2013. "Spatial inequality, globalization, and footloose capital," Economic Theory, Springer;Society for the Advancement of Economic Theory (SAET), vol. 53(1), pages 213-238, May.
    11. Nathalie Chusseau & Michel Dumont, 2012. "Growing Income Inequalities in Advanced," Working Papers hal-00993359, HAL.
    12. Nathalie Chusseau & Michel Dumont, 2013. "Growing Income Inequalities in Advanced Countries," Palgrave Macmillan Books, in: Joël Hellier & Nathalie Chusseau (ed.), Growing Income Inequalities, chapter 1, pages 13-47, Palgrave Macmillan.
    13. Andrea Vaona, 2013. "Countervailing inequality effects of globalization and renewable energy generation in Argentina," Working Papers 12/2013, University of Verona, Department of Economics.
    14. Kurokawa, Yoshinori, 2011. "Is a skill intensity reversal a mere theoretical curiosum? Evidence from the US and Mexico," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 112(2), pages 151-154, August.
    15. Michele Raitano & Francesco Vona, 2017. "Competition, firm size and returns to skills: Evidence from currency shocks and market liberalisations," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 40(12), pages 2676-2703, December.
    16. Kurokawa, Yoshinori & Pang, Jiaren & Tang, Yao, 2016. "Exchange rate regimes and wage comovements in a Ricardian model with money," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 102(C), pages 96-109.
    17. Collin Rabe & Andrea Waddle, 2018. "Leaving NAFTA:Implications for Inequality," 2018 Meeting Papers 831, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • F12 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Models of Trade with Imperfect Competition and Scale Economies; Fragmentation

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