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Competition, Trade and Wages

  • J. Peter Neary

    (University College Dublin)

I briefly review the empirical evidence in the trade and wages debate, which overwhelmingly rejects the Heckscher-Ohlin explanation for recent increases in OECD skill premia. I then argue that the same evidence is also difficult to reconcile in general equilibrium with the view that exogenous skill-biased technological progress is the sole culprit. Finally, I present a model of oligopolistic competition which is more consistent with the evidence. Removing quantitative import constraints (a metaphor for increased foreign competition) encourages both home and foreign firms to invest more aggressively, raising their demand for skilled labour even at unchanged relative wages.

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File URL: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2000/WP00.20.pdf
File Function: First version, 2000
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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200020.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: 25 Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200020
Contact details of provider: Postal: UCD, Belfield, Dublin 4
Phone: +353-1-7067777
Fax: +353-1-283 0068
Web page: http://www.ucd.ie/economics

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  1. Johnson, George & Stafford, Frank, 1999. "The labor market implications of international trade," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 34, pages 2215-2288 Elsevier.
  2. Feenstra, Robert C & Hanson, Gordon H, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(2), pages 240-45, May.
  3. Slaughter, Matthew J, 1998. "International Trade and Labour-Market Outcomes: Results, Questions, and Policy Options," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1452-62, September.
  4. Desjonqueres, Thibaut & Machin, Stephen & Van Reenen, John, 1999. " Another Nail in the Coffin? Or Can the Trade Based Explanation of Changing Skill Structures Be Resurrected?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 101(4), pages 533-54, December.
  5. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," NBER Working Papers 1192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Dermot Leahy & J. Peter Neary, 2000. "Robust Rules for Industrial Policy in open Economies," Working Papers 200021, School of Economics, University College Dublin.
  7. Thoenig, M. & Verdier, T., 2000. "Trade Induced Technical Bias and Wage Inequalities: a Theory of Defensive Innovation," DELTA Working Papers 2000-02, DELTA (Ecole normale supérieure).
  8. Joseph F. Francois & Douglas Nelson, 1998. "Trade, Technology, and Wages: General Equilibrium Mechanics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-058/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  9. Borjas, George J & Ramey, Valerie A, 1995. "Foreign Competition, Market Power, and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1075-1110, November.
  10. Jaskold Gabszewicz, Jean & Vial, Jean-Philippe, 1972. "Oligopoly "A la cournot" in a general equilibrium analysis," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 4(3), pages 381-400, June.
  11. R. Melvin, James & Warne, Robert D., 1973. "Monopoly and the theory of international trade," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(2), pages 117-134, May.
  12. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  13. Donald R. Davis, 1996. "Technology, Unemployment, and Relative Wages in a Global Economy," NBER Working Papers 5636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  14. Fudenberg, Drew & Tirole, Jean, 1984. "The Fat-Cat Effect, the Puppy-Dog Ploy, and the Lean and Hungry Look," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(2), pages 361-66, May.
  15. Richard Harris, 1984. "Why Voluntary Export Restraints are 'Voluntary'," Working Papers 559, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  16. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, March.
  17. Ronald W. Jones, 1997. "Trade, Technology and Income Distribution," Indian Economic Review, Department of Economics, Delhi School of Economics, vol. 32(2), pages 129-140, July.
  18. Davis, Donald R, 1998. "Does European Unemployment Prop Up American Wages? National Labor Markets and Global Trade," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 88(3), pages 478-94, June.
  19. Lawrence, Colin & Spiller, Pablo T, 1983. "Product Diversity, Economies of Scale, and International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(1), pages 63-83, February.
  20. Kala Krishna, 1985. "Trade Restrictions as Facilitating Practices," NBER Working Papers 1546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  21. Krugman, Paul R., 2000. "Technology, trade and factor prices," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(1), pages 51-71, February.
  22. Hylke Vandenbussche & Jozef Konings, 1998. "Globalisation and the Effects of National Versus International Competition on the Labour Market: Theory and Evidence from Belgian Firm Level Data," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(8), pages 1151-1177, November.
  23. Birgit Grodal & Egbert Dierker, 1999. "The price normalization problem in imperfect competition and the objective of the firm," Economic Theory, Springer, vol. 14(2), pages 257-284.
  24. Haskel, Jonathan, 2000. "The Trade and Labour Approaches to Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  25. Nickell, Stephen & Bell, Brian, 1995. "The Collapse in Demand for the Unskilled and Unemployment across the OECD," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 11(1), pages 40-62, Spring.
  26. J. Peter Neary & Dermot Leahy, 1998. "Strategic trade and industrial policy towards dynamic oligopolies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 20246, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  27. Flam, Harry & Helpman, Elhanan, 1987. "Industrial policy under monopolistic competition," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 22(1-2), pages 79-102, February.
  28. d'Aspremont, Claude & Dos Santos Ferreira, Rodolphe & Gerard-Varet, Louis-Andre, 1996. "On the Dixit-Stiglitz Model of Monopolistic Competition," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 623-29, June.
  29. Hine, Robert C & Wright, Peter W, 1998. "Trade with Low Wage Economies, Employment and Productivity in UK Manufacturing," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(450), pages 1500-1510, September.
  30. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557.
  31. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Growing World Trade: Causes and Consequences," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 26(1, 25th A), pages 327-377.
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