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Competition, trade and wages

  • J. Peter Neary

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://hdl.handle.net/10197/1277
File Function: First version, 2001
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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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Date of creation: Jun 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200020
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  1. JASKOLD GABSZEWICZ, Jean & VIAL, Jean-Philippe, . "Oligopoly "Ã la Cournot" in a general equilibrium analysis," CORE Discussion Papers RP 106, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  2. d'ASPREMONT, C. & DOS SANTOS FERREIRA, R. & GÉRARD-VARET, L.-A., . "On the Dixit-Stiglitz model of monopolistic competition," CORE Discussion Papers RP 1211, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  3. Joseph F. Francois & Douglas Nelson, 1998. "Trade, Technology, and Wages: General Equilibrium Mechanics," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 98-058/2, Tinbergen Institute.
  4. 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.
  5. Neary, J.P. & Leahy, D., 1998. "Strategic Trade and Industrial Policy Towards Dynamic Oligopolies," Papers 98/14, College Dublin, Department of Political Economy-.
  6. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Technology, Trade, and Factor Prices," NBER Working Papers 5355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Kala Krishna, 1985. "Trade Restrictions as Facilitating Practices," NBER Working Papers 1546, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Mathias Thoenig, 2000. "Trade Induced Technical Bias and Wage Inequalities: A Theory of Defensive Innovation," Econometric Society World Congress 2000 Contributed Papers 1931, Econometric Society.
  9. 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.
  10. Davis, Donald R., 1998. "Technology, unemployment, and relative wages in a global economy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 42(9), pages 1613-1633, November.
  11. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 2001. "Robust Rules for Industrial Policy in Open Economies," CEPR Discussion Papers 2731, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  12. Egbert Dierker & Birgit Grodal, 1998. "The Price Normalization Problem in Imperfect Competition and the objective of the Firm," CIE Discussion Papers 1998-08, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  13. 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.
  14. Robert C. Feenstra & Gordon H. Hanson, 1996. "Globalization, Outsourcing, and Wage Inequality," NBER Working Papers 5424, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Richard Harris, 1985. "Why Voluntary Export Restraints Are 'Voluntary.'," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 18(4), pages 799-809, November.
  16. 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.
  17. Edward E. Leamer, 1996. "What's the Use of Factor Contents?," NBER Working Papers 5448, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  18. Haskel, Jonathan, 2000. "The Trade and Labour Approaches to Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  19. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," NBER Working Papers 1192, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. George J. Borjas & Valerie A. Ramey, 1995. "Foreign Competition, Market Power, and Wage Inequality," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(4), pages 1075-1110.
  25. 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.
  26. Ronald W. Jones, 1965. "The Structure of Simple General Equilibrium Models," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 73, pages 557.
  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. Colin Lawrence & Pablo T. Spiller, 1983. "Product Diversity, Economies of Scale, and International Trade," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(1), pages 63-83.
  29. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, July.
  30. 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.
  31. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1983. "International R & D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 50(4), pages 707-722.
  32. 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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