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Foreign competition and wage inequality

  • J. Peter Neary

I argue that increased foreign competition can affect technical choice and skill differentials even when actual imports do not rise significantly. I present a model of General Oligopolistic Equilibrium ("GOLE") in which a reduction in import barriers (whethe technological or policy-imposed) encourages more strategic investment by incumbent firms. The predictions accord with many of the stylised facts: higher skill premia; higher ratios of skilled to unskilled workers employed in all sectors and throughout the economy; little change in import volumes or prices; and rapid technological progress with rather little change in total factor productivity. (Presidential address to the International Economics and Finance Society, presented at the AEA/ASSA meetings, New Orleans, January 2001.)

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University College Dublin in its series Working Papers with number 200102.

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Date of creation: Nov 2001
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Handle: RePEc:ucn:wpaper:200102
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  1. Paul Segerstrom & Elias Dinopoulos, 1999. "A Schumpeterian Model of Protection and Relative Wages," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 450-472, June.
  2. Wood, Adrian, 1995. "North-South Trade, Employment and Inequality: Changing Fortunes in a Skill-Driven World," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198290155, July.
  3. Volker Nocke, 2000. "Monopolisation and Industry Structure," Economics Series Working Papers 2000-W27, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  4. Greenaway, David & Hine, Robert C. & Wright, Peter, 1999. "An empirical assessment of the impact of trade on employment in the United Kingdom," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 15(3), pages 485-500, September.
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  7. Thoenig, Mathias & Verdier, Thierry, 2000. "Trade Induced Technical Bias And Wage Inequalities: A Theory Of Defensive Innovations," CEPR Discussion Papers 2401, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  8. 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.
  9. Leahy, Dermot & Neary, J Peter, 1995. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy without Government Commitment," CEPR Discussion Papers 1199, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  10. Haskel, Jonathan, 2000. "The Trade and Labour Approaches to Wage Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 2476, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Barbara J. Spencer & James A. Brander, 1982. "International R&D Rivalry and Industrial Strategy," Working Papers 518, Queen's University, Department of Economics.
  12. Dixit, Avinash, 1979. "The Role of Investment in Entry-Deterrence," The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) 140, University of Warwick, Department of Economics.
  13. Cordella, Tito & J. Gabszewicz, Jean, 1997. "Comparative advantage under oligopoly," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(3-4), pages 333-346, November.
  14. 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.
  15. Paul Krugman, 1995. "Technology, Trade, and Factor Prices," NBER Working Papers 5355, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Brander, James A., 1981. "Intra-industry trade in identical commodities," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 11(1), pages 1-14, February.
  17. Anthony B. Atkinson, 2000. "The Changing Distribution of Income: Evidence and Explanations," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 1(1), pages 3-18, 02.
  18. 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.
  19. Daron Acemoglu, 2003. "Patterns of Skill Premia," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(2), pages 199-230, 04.
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. Ekholm, Karolina & Ulltveit-Moe, Karen-Helene, 2001. "Relative Wages and Trade-Induced Changes in Technology," CEPR Discussion Papers 2677, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  23. J.Peter Neary, 2001. "Of Hype and Hyperbolas: Introducing the New Economic Geography," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 39(2), pages 536-561, June.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. Vives, Xavier, 1985. "On the efficiency of Bertrand and Cournot equilibria with product differentation," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 166-175, June.
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